BDNF Val66Met Polymorphism Influences Age Differences in Microstructure of the Corpus Callosum

Center for Brain Health, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, The University of Texas at Dallas Dallas, TX, USA.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 2.9). 02/2009; 3:19. DOI: 10.3389/neuro.09.019.2009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in neuroplasticity and promotes axonal growth, but its secretion, regulated by a BDNF gene, declines with age. The low-activity (met) allele of common polymorphism BDNF val66met is associated with reduced production of BDNF. We examined whether age-related reduction in the integrity of cerebral white matter (WM) depends on the BDNF val66met genotype. Forty-one middle-aged and older adults participated in the study. Regional WM integrity was assessed by fractional anisotropy (FA) computed from manually drawn regions of interest in the genu and splenium of the corpus callosum on diffusion tensor imaging scans. After controlling for effects of sex and hypertension, we found that only the BDNF 66met carriers displayed age-related declines in the splenium FA, whereas no age-related declines were shown by BDNF val homozygotes. No genotype-related differences were observed in the genu of the corpus callosum. This finding is consistent with a view that genetic risk for reduced BDNF affects posterior regions that otherwise are considered relatively insensitive to normal aging. Those individuals with a genetic predisposition for decreased BDNF expression may not be able to fully benefit from BDNF-based plasticity and repair mechanisms.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia is believed to arise from complex gene-environment interactions. Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is involved in neuronal development, differentiation and plasticity. A functional single nucleotide polymorphism that results in a Valine (Val) to Methionine (Met) substitution at codon 66 (Val66Met) results in the aberrant sorting and release of mature BDNF through the activity-dependent secretion pathway. The Val66Met polymorphism has been linked to impaired neurocognitive function in healthy adults, and identified as a locus of risk for a range of neuropsychiatric disorders including schizophrenia. Here we provide a comprehensive review of the relationship between the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism and schizophrenia, integrating evidence from the fields of genetic epidemiology, clinical psychiatry, behavioral neuroscience and neuroimaging. We argue that while the Val66Met polymorphism may not be a major risk-conferring agent for the development of schizophrenia per se, there is mounting evidence that the polymorphism modulates a range of clinical features of the illness, including age of onset, symptoms, therapeutic responsiveness, neurocognitive function and brain morphology.
    Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 01/2015; 51. DOI:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.12.016 · 10.28 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Heritability of brain anatomical connectivity has been studied with diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) mainly by modeling each voxel's diffusion pattern as a tensor (e.g., to compute fractional anisotropy), but this method cannot accurately represent the many crossing connections present in the brain. We hypothesized that different brain networks (i.e., their component fibers) might have different heritability and we investigated brain connectivity using High Angular Resolution Diffusion Imaging (HARDI) in a cohort of twins comprising 328 subjects that included 70 pairs of monozygotic and 91 pairs of dizygotic twins. Water diffusion was modeled in each voxel with a Fiber Orientation Distribution (FOD) function to study heritability for multiple fiber orientations in each voxel. Precision was estimated in a test–retest experiment on a sub-cohort of 39 subjects. This was taken into account when computing heritability of FOD peaks using an ACE model on the monozygotic and dizygotic twins. Our results confirmed the overall heritability of the major white matter tracts but also identified differences in heritability between connectivity networks. Inter-hemispheric connections tended to be more heritable than intra-hemispheric and cortico-spinal connections. The highly heritable tracts were found to connect particular cortical regions, such as medial frontal cortices, postcentral, paracentral gyri, and the right hippocampus.
    NeuroImage 06/2014; 100. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.06.041 · 6.13 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Increasing evidence from cross-sectional and longitudinal molecular-genetic studies suggests that effects of common genetic variations on cognitive functioning increase with aging. We review the influence of candidate genes on brain functioning in old age, focusing on four genetic variations that have been extensively investigated: APOE, BDNF, COMT, and KIBRA. Similar to the behavioral evidence, there are reports from age-comparative studies documenting stronger genetic effects on measures of brain functioning in older adults compared to younger adults. This pattern suggests disproportionate impairments of neural processing among older individuals carrying disadvantageous genotypes. We discuss various factors, including gene-gene interactions, study population characteristics, lifestyle factors, and diseases, that need to be considered in future studies and may help understand inconsistent findings in the extant literature.
    Neuropsychology Review 02/2015; DOI:10.1007/s11065-015-9279-8 · 5.40 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 15, 2014