HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Significant association between catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158/108Met polymorphism and cognitive function in veterans with PTSD

Article

An article which examines the association between catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158/108Met polymorphism and cognitive function in veterans with PTSD.

Abstract

Highlights ROCF immediate and delayed scores were lower in PTSD vs. control subjects. COMT Val 158/108 Met was significantly associated with ROCF scores in PTSD. COMT Val 158/108 Met was not related to ROCF scores in control subjects. Met carriers performed better than Val/Val homozygotes on ROCF scores in PTSD. Abstract Core features of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are cognitive disturbances. Enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) degrades dopamine primarily in prefrontal cortex. Its functional polymorphism, COMT Val 158/108 Met, affects COMT activity and dopamine availability and is associated with disturbances in cognition. The hypothesis was that PTSD subjects will have worse working memory than healthy controls and that the carriers of the COMT Met allele will show better cognitive performance compared to Val/Val carriers in PTSD and controls subjects. The aim of this study was to assess the differences in cognitive functioning between PTSD and control subjects and to evaluate the association between COMT Val 158/108 Met polymorphism and cognitive function determined using the Rey–Osterrieth complex figure (ROCF) copy, immediate and delayed test. The study included 323 male Caucasian participants of Croatian origin: 205 male combat veterans with PTSD and 118 control subjects. A significant association between the COMT Val 158/108 Met and the ROCF immediate and delayed scores in veterans with PTSD was found. We confirmed, on ethnically homogenous groups of veterans with matched combat experience, that controls had higher ROCF immediate and delayed test scores than veterans with PTSD. In PTSD subjects, the Met carriers of the COMT Val 158/108 Met performed better (i.e. had higher ROCF scores) than Val/Val homozygotes on both ROCF immediate recall and delayed recall test. Our results provide the first evidence that the presence of one or two Met alleles of the COMT Val 158/108 Met might act as a protective variant in working memory tasks in combat exposed veterans with PTSD.

Full Reference

Havelka Mestrovic, Ana ; Tudor, Lucija ; Nikolac Perkovic, Matea ; Nedic Erjavec, Gordana ; Kovacic Petrovic, Zrnka ; Svob Strac, Dubravka ; Konjevod, Marcela ; Pivac, Nela (2018). Significant association between catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158/108Met polymorphism and cognitive function in veterans with PTSD. Neuroscience letters. Vol: 666, p.38-43.