Event Abstract

The effects of catechol-O-methyltransferase polymorphism Val158Met on resting EEG spectral activity in healthy adults

  • 1 University of Wollongong, Centre for Psychophysics, Psychophysiology, and Psychopharmacology, Australia
  • 2 University of Wollongong, Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI), Australia

Aims: The catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene codes for synaptic enzyme degrading catecholamines, including dopamine, and has been extensively studied in mental health research. A functional Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) within COMT (Val158Met) results in differential levels of activity of the COMT enzyme, with Val/Val homozygote genotype exhibiting higher COMT activity compared to Met/Met homozygote genotype. Many studies have reported an association between executive function and the COMT Val158Met polymorphism, but few have explored this association together with EEG; this was the aim of the current study. Method: Fifty six young adults had their resting EEG activity continuously recorded from 30 scalp sites for 6 min (2 min eyes open, 2 min eyes closed, 2 min eyes open). Participants also completed a computerised neurocognitive test battery (CogState), and provided a saliva sample for DNA extraction. Mean EEG band power was computed across the 2 minute blocks for delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma. To control for possible arousal effects, the mean across the first and second eyes open blocks was used. The genotyping for COMT Val158Met polymorphism was performed using the Sequenom MassARRAY® genotyping assay. Genotypes were compared according EEG activity and CogState scores. Results: Eyes closed, compared to eyes open, showed increased activity in delta, theta, alpha, and beta bands. Closing the eyes had no effect on gamma band power. Genotype type affected power in the theta band only: the Val/Val major homozygous genotype compared to the Val/Met heterozygote genotype was associated with greater theta power, but no significant difference was found when compared to Met/Met minor homozygous genotype individuals. Also, Val/Val genotype had the greatest difference in theta power for eyes closed versus eyes open. Participant CogState test scores were not affected by their genotype for COMT Val158Met. Conclusions: Results indicate that theta power is modulated by COMT Val158Met, a finding broadly consistent with work linking task-related dopaminergic neuromodulation and theta oscillations. A larger sample size would be required in future work to show whether this link between COMT variants and theta is related to cognitive performance.

Keywords: Electroencephalography (EEG), Delta Rhythm, Theta Rhythm, Alpha Rhythm, Beta Rhythm, gamma rhythm, Catechol O-Methyltransferase, COMT Val158Met polymorphism, Single nucleotide polymorphism

Conference: Australasian Society for Psychophysiology, Inc, Coffs Harbour, Australia, 26 Nov - 28 Nov, 2014.

Presentation Type: Poster

Topic: Psychophysiology

Citation: Steiner GZ, Fernandez-Enright FZ, Barkus E and Barry RJ (2014). The effects of catechol-O-methyltransferase polymorphism Val158Met on resting EEG spectral activity in healthy adults. Conference Abstract: Australasian Society for Psychophysiology, Inc. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnhum.2014.216.00016

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Received: 24 Oct 2014; Published Online: 02 Dec 2014.

* Correspondence: Ms. Genevieve Z Steiner, University of Wollongong, Centre for Psychophysics, Psychophysiology, and Psychopharmacology, Wollongong, NSW, 2522, Australia, G.Steiner@westernsydney.edu.au