Effects of a functional COMT polymorphism on prefrontal cognitive function in patients with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.
ABSTRACT The 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (DiGeorge/velocardiofacial syndrome) is associated with attentional problems and executive dysfunction, and is one of the highest known risk factors for schizophrenia. These behavioral manifestations of 22q11.2 deletion syndrome could result from haploinsufficiency of the catechol O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene, located within the 22q11 region. The goal of the present study was to examine COMT genotype as a predictor of prefrontal cognitive function in patients with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.
Patients with confirmed 22q11.2 deletions (N=44) underwent neurocognitive testing following Val(158)Met genotyping (Met hemizygous: N=16; Val hemizygous: N=28).
Analyses of covariance revealed that Met-hemizygous patients performed significantly better on a composite measure of executive function (comprising set-shifting, verbal fluency, attention, and working memory) than did Val-hemizygous patients.
These data are consistent with those of previous studies in normal individuals, suggesting that a functional genetic polymorphism in the 22q11 region may influence prefrontal cognition in individuals with COMT haploinsufficiency.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Abbas F Jawad, Jun 02, 2015
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ABSTRACT: The 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS) carries the highest genetic risk factor for the development of schizophrenia. We investigated the association of genetic variants in two schizophrenia candidate genes with executive function (EF) and IQ in 22q11.2DS individuals. Ninety two individuals with 22q11.2 deletion were studied for the genetic association between COMT and PRODH variants and EF and IQ. Subjects were divided into children (under 12 years old), adolescents (between 12 and 18 years old) and adults (older than 18 years), and genotyped for the COMT Val158Met (rs4680) and PRODH Arg185Trp (rs4819756) polymorphisms. The participants underwent psychiatric evaluation and EF assessment. Our main finding is a significant influence of the COMT Val158Met polymorphism on both IQ and EF performance. Specifically, 22q11.2DS subjects with Met allele displayed higher IQ scores in all age groups compared to Val carriers, reaching significance in both adolescents and adults. The Met allele carriers performed better than Val carriers in EF tasks, being statistically significant in the adult group. PRODH Arg185Trp variant did not affect IQ or EF in our 22q11.2DS cohort. In conclusion, functional COMT variant, but not PRODH, affects IQ and EF in 22q11.2DS subjects during neurodevelopment with a maximal effect at adulthood. Future studies should monitor the cognitive performance of the same individuals from childhood to old age.Journal of Psychiatric Research 05/2014; 56. DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.04.019 · 4.09 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Chromosome 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22q11.2DS) is caused by the most common human microdeletion, and it is associated with cognitive impairments across many domains. While impairments in cognitive control have been described in children with 22q11.2DS, the nature and development of these impairments are not clear. Children with 22q11.2DS and typically developing children (TD) were tested on four well-validated tasks aimed at measuring specific foundational components of cognitive control: response inhibition, cognitive flexibility, and working memory. Molecular assays were also conducted in order to examine genotype of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), a gene located within the deleted region in 22q11.2DS and hypothesized to play a role in cognitive control. Mixed model regression analyses were used to examine group differences, as well as age-related effects on cognitive control component processes in a cross-sectional analysis. Regression models with COMT genotype were also conducted in order to examine potential effects of the different variants of the gene. Response inhibition, cognitive flexibility, and working memory were impaired in children with 22q11.2DS relative to TD children, even after accounting for global intellectual functioning (as measured by full-scale IQ). When compared with TD individuals, children with 22q11.2DS demonstrated atypical age-related patterns of response inhibition and cognitive flexibility. Both groups demonstrated typical age-related associations with working memory. The results of this cross-sectional analysis suggest a specific aberration in the development of systems mediating response inhibition in a sub-set of children with 22q11.2DS. It will be important to follow up with longitudinal analyses to directly examine these developmental trajectories, and correlate neurocognitive variables with clinical and adaptive outcome measures.Frontiers in Psychology 06/2014; 5:566. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00566 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS, velo-cardio-facial syndrome [VCFS]) is a genetic disorder associated with interstitial deletions of chromosome 22q11.2. In addition to high rates of neuropsychiatric disorders, children with 22q11DS have impairments of face processing, as well as IQ-independent deficits in visuoperceptual function and social and abstract reasoning. These face-processing deficits may contribute to the social impairments of 22q11DS. However, their neurobiological basis is poorly understood. We used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine neural responses when children with 22q11DS (aged 9-17 years) and healthy controls (aged 8-17 years) incidentally processed neutral expressions and mild (50%) and intense (100%) expressions of fear and disgust. We included 28 right-handed children and adolescents: 14 with 22q11DS and 14 healthy (including nine siblings) controls. Within groups, contrasts showed that individuals significantly activated 'face responsive' areas when viewing neutral faces, including fusiform-extrastriate cortices. Further, within both groups, there was a significant positive linear trend in activation of fusiform-extrastriate cortices and cerebellum to increasing intensities of fear. There were, however, also between-group differences. Children with 22q11DS generally showed reduced activity as compared to controls in brain regions involved in social cognition and emotion processing across emotion types and intensities, including fusiform-extrastriate cortices, anterior cingulate cortex (Brodmann area (BA) 24/32), and superomedial prefrontal cortices (BA 6). Also, an exploratory correlation analysis showed that within 22q11DS children reduced activation was associated with behavioural impairment-social difficulties (measured using the Total Difficulties Score from the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire [SDQ]) were significantly negatively correlated with brain activity during fear and disgust processing (respectively) in the left precentral gyrus (BA 4) and in the left fusiform gyrus (FG, BA 19), right lingual gyrus (BA 18), and bilateral cerebellum. Regions involved in face processing, including fusiform-extrastriate cortices, anterior cingulate gyri, and superomedial prefrontal cortices (BA 6), are activated by facial expressions of fearful, disgusted, and neutral expressions in children with 22q11DS but generally to a lesser degree than in controls. Hypoactivation in these regions may partly explain the social impairments of children with 22q11DS.Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 01/2015; 7(1). DOI:10.1186/1866-1955-7-1 · 3.71 Impact Factor