March 5, 2021

Association between COMT gene Val158Met heterozygote polymorphism and enhanced brain predicting processes

Predicting events in the ever-changing environment is a fundamental survival function intrinsic to the physiology of sensory systems, whose efficiency varies among the population. Even though it is established that a major source of such variations is genetic heritage, there are no studies tracking down auditory predicting processes to genetic mutations. Thus, we examined the neurophysiological responses to deviant stimuli recorded with magnetoencephalography (MEG) in 108 healthy participants carrying different variants of the Val158Met single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) within the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene, which is responsible for the majority of catecholamines degradation in the prefrontal cortex. Our results showed significant amplitude enhancement of neural responses localized within inferior frontal gyrus, superior and middle temporal cortices to deviant auditory stimuli in heterozygote genotype carriers (Val/Met) vs homozygote (Val/Val and Met/Met) carriers. Integrating neurophysiology and genetics, this study provided new and broader insights into the brain mechanisms underlying optimal deviant detection.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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