The effect of the COMT val(158)met polymorphism on neural correlates of semantic verbal fluency

Axel Krug, Valentin Markov, Abigail Sheldrick, Sören Krach, Andreas Jansen, Klaus Zerres, Thomas Eggermann, Tony Stöcker, N Jon Shah, Tilo Kircher


Variation in the val(158)met polymorphism of the COMT gene has been found to be associated with cognitive performance. In functional neuroimaging studies, this dysfunction has been linked to signal changes in prefrontal areas. Given the complex modulation and functional heterogeneity of frontal lobe systems, further specification of COMT gene-related phenotypes differing in prefrontally mediated cognitive performance are of major interest. Eighty healthy individuals (54 men, 26 women; mean age 23.3 years) performed an overt semantic verbal fluency task while brain activation was measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). COMT val(158)met genotype was determined and correlated with brain activation measured with fMRI during the task. Although there were no differences in performance, brain activation in the left inferior frontal gyrus [Brodmann area 10] was positively correlated with the number of val alleles in the COMT gene. COMT val(158)met status modulates brain activation during the language production on a semantic level in an area related to executive functions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)459-65
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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