Interaction of dopamine system genes and cognitive functions in patients with schizophrenia and their relatives and in healthy subjects from the general population.
ABSTRACT Linkage between the DRD4 and COMT genes and cognitive measures characterizing verbal memory, executive functions, and associative processes was studied in 150 patients with schizophrenia, 83 of their relatives, and 118 mentally healthy subjects without any family history of psychoses, with the aim of detecting the main effects of the polymorphic markers -809G/A and -521C/T (DRD4) and Val158Met (COMT) when present individually and together. The group of patients showed a main effect for polymorphism -521C/T on verbal fluency and an effect of the interaction of this polymorphism and the COMT gene on this cognitive trait. The highest level of verbal fluency was seen among carriers of the Val/Val+CC and Met/Met+TT genotypes. In the combined group of unaffected individuals, the interaction of the COMT and DRD4 -521C/TT genotypes had an effect on the standardness of speech associations due to a decrease in the standardness of associations in carriers of the Met/Met+CC genotype. Finally, both patients and unaffected individuals showed an effect for the interaction between the COMT and DRD4 -809G/A genotypes on working memory. Patients and healthy subjects showed similar features: the highest values were seen in subjects homozygous for the Val and G alleles, while the lowest values were seen in homozygotes for the Met and A alleles. These data provide evidence for a relationship between the DRD4 and COMT genes and different aspects of executive functions and the absence of such a relationship in relation to verbal memory.
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ABSTRACT: Past research has demonstrated that performance on frontal lobe-dependent tasks is associated with dopamine system integrity and that various dopamine system deficits occur with aging. The positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracer 6-[(18)F]fluoro-l-m-tyrosine (FMT) is a substrate of the dopamine-synthesizing enzyme, aromatic amino acid decarboxylase (AADC). Studies using 6-[(18)F]fluorodopa (FDOPA) (another AADC substrate) to measure how striatal PET signal and age relate have had inconsistent outcomes. The varying results occur in part from tracer processing that renders FDOPA signal subject to aspects of postrelease metabolism, which may themselves change with aging. In contrast, FMT remains a purer measure of AADC function. We used partial volume-corrected FMT PET scans to measure age-related striatal dopamine synthesis capacity in 21 older (mean, 66.9) and 16 younger (mean, 22.8) healthy adults. We also investigated how striatal FMT signal related to a cognitive measure of frontal lobe function. Older adults showed significantly greater striatal FMT signal than younger adults. Within the older group, FMT signal in dorsal caudate (DCA) and dorsal putamen was greater with age, suggesting compensation for deficits elsewhere in the dopamine system. In younger adults, FMT signal in DCA was lower with age, likely related to ongoing developmental processes. Younger adults who performed worse on tests of frontal lobe function showed greater FMT signal in right DCA, independent of age effects. Our data suggest that higher striatal FMT signal represents nonoptimal dopamine processing. They further support a relationship between striatal dopamine processing and frontal lobe cognitive function.Journal of Neuroscience 01/2009; 28(52):14320-8. · 7.11 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Twin, adoption, and family studies have established the heritability of suicide attempts and suicide. Identifying specific suicide diathesis-related genes has proven more difficult. As with psychiatric disorders in general, methodological difficulties include complexity of the phenotype for suicidal behavior and distinguishing suicide diathesis-related genes from genes associated with mood disorders and other suicide-associated psychiatric illness. Adopting an endophenotype approach involving identification of genes associated with heritable intermediate phenotypes, including biological and/or behavioral markers more proximal to genes, is an approach being used for other psychiatric disorders. Therefore, a workshop convened by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University, and the National Institute of Mental Health sought to identify potential target endophenotypes for genetic studies of suicidal behavior. The most promising endophenotypes were trait aggression/impulsivity, early-onset major depression, neurocognitive function, and cortisol social stress response. Other candidate endophenotypes requiring further investigation include serotonergic neurotransmission, second messenger systems, and borderline personality disorder traits.Biological psychiatry 03/2009; 65(7):556-63. · 8.93 Impact Factor