COMT Val158Met genotypes differentially influence subgenual cingulate functional connectivity in healthy females

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Abstract

Brain imaging studies have consistently shown subgenual Anterior Cingulate Cortical (sgACC) involvement in emotion processing. catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158 and Met158polymorphisms may influence such emotional brain processes in specific ways. Given that resting-state fMRI (rsfMRI) may increase our understanding on brain functioning, we integrated genetic and rsfMRI data and focused on sgACC functional connections. No studies have yet investigated the influence of the COMT Val158Met polymorphism (rs4680) on sgACC resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) in healthy individuals. A homogeneous group of 61 Caucasian right-handed healthy female university students, all within the same age range, underwent rsfMRI. Compared to Met158 homozygotes, Val158 allele carriers displayed significantly stronger rsFC between the sgACC and the left parahippocampal gyrus, ventromedial parts of the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), and the nucleus accumbens (NAc). On the other hand, compared to Val158 homozygotes, we found in Met158allele carriers stronger sgACC rsFC with the medial frontal gyrus (MFG), more in particular the anterior parts of the medial orbitofrontal cortex. Although we did not use emotional or cognitive tasks, our sgACC rsFC results point to possible distinct differences in emotional and cognitive processes between Val158 and Met158 allele carriers. However, the exact nature of these directions remains to be determined. © 2014 Baeken, Marinazzo, Claes, Wu, Van Schuerbeek, De Mey, Luypaert and De Raedt.

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Baeken, C., Marinazzo, D., Claes, S., Wu, G. R., Van Schuerbeek, P., De Mey, J., … De Raedt, R. (2014). COMT Val158Met genotypes differentially influence subgenual cingulate functional connectivity in healthy females. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8(JUNE). https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00481

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