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Original Paper

Functional Polymorphisms in BDNF and COMT Genes Are Associated with Objective Differences in Arithmetical Functioning in a Sample of Young Adults

González-Giraldo Y.a, b · Rojas J.a, b · Novoa P.a, b · Mueller S.T.c · Piper B.J.d · Adan A.e · Forero D.A.a

Author affiliations

aLaboratory of Neuropsychiatric Genetics, Biomedical Sciences Research Group, School of Medicine, Universidad Antonio Nariño, and bSchool of Health Sciences, Universidad Colegio Mayor de Cundinamarca, Bogotá, Colombia; cDepartment of Cognitive and Learning Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Mich., and dSchool of Pharmacy, Husson University, Bangor, Maine, USA; eDepartment of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Related Articles for ""

Neuropsychobiology 2014;70:152-157

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Received: September 02, 2013
Accepted: August 05, 2014
Published online: October 24, 2014
Issue release date: November 2014

Number of Print Pages: 6
Number of Figures: 1
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 0302-282X (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0224 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/NPS

Abstract

Background: Understanding the molecular genetics of complex human behaviors and functions remains a substantial challenge for the neurosciences. Previous studies have shown a genetic basis for individual differences in mathematical functioning; however, the specific genes remain to be completely identified. In the present study, we explored the possibility that 2 functional polymorphisms in candidate genes could be associated with differences in arithmetical performance. Methods: A computerized test to analyze performance in basic arithmetical calculations (additions and subtractions) was applied to 168 healthy young Colombian participants using the PEBL (Psychology Experiment Building Language) battery. DNA samples were genotyped for 2 functional SNPs in candidate genes: brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)-Val66Met and catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT)-Val158Met. Results: We found significant differences for arithmetical processing scores between genotypes. For BDNF, Val/Val subjects had a worse performance (p value: 0.025) and for COMT, Val/Val carriers had a better performance (p value: 0.006). A multivariate model, including both BDNF and COMT genes, accounted for 7.1% of the variance in math processing scores. Discussion: To our knowledge, this is the first study finding associations of polymorphisms in BDNF and COMT genes with quantitative measures of numerical aptitude in healthy young participants. A future study of other genes involved in neural plasticity could be helpful to identify genetic correlates of arithmetical functioning, which will be important for the understanding of normal human behaviors and related neuropsychiatric disorders.

© 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Received: September 02, 2013
Accepted: August 05, 2014
Published online: October 24, 2014
Issue release date: November 2014

Number of Print Pages: 6
Number of Figures: 1
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 0302-282X (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0224 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/NPS


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