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EEG Source Imaging Indices of Cognitive Control Show Associations with Dopamine System Genes


McLoughlin, G; Palmer, J; Makeig, S; Bigdely-Shamlo, N; Banaschewski, T; Laucht, M; Brandeis, D (2018). EEG Source Imaging Indices of Cognitive Control Show Associations with Dopamine System Genes. Brain Topography, 31(3):392-406.

Abstract

Cognitive or executive control is a critical mental ability, an important marker of mental illness, and among the most heritable of neurocognitive traits. Two candidate genes, catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) and DRD4, which both have a roles in the regulation of cortical dopamine, have been consistently associated with cognitive control. Here, we predicted that individuals with the COMT Met/Met allele would show improved response execution and inhibition as indexed by event-related potentials in a Go/NoGo task, while individuals with the DRD4 7-repeat allele would show impaired brain activity. We used independent component analysis (ICA) to separate brain source processes contributing to high-density EEG scalp signals recorded during the task. As expected, individuals with the DRD4 7-repeat polymorphism had reduced parietal P3 source and scalp responses to response (Go) compared to those without the 7-repeat. Contrary to our expectation, the COMT homozygous Met allele was associated with a smaller frontal P3 source and scalp response to response-inhibition (NoGo) stimuli, suggesting that while more dopamine in frontal cortical areas has advantages in some tasks, it may also compromise response inhibition function. An interaction effect emerged for P3 source responses to Go stimuli. These were reduced in those with both the 7-repeat DRD4 allele and either the COMT Val/Val or the Met/Met homozygous polymorphisms but not in those with the heterozygous Val/Met polymorphism. This epistatic interaction between DRD4 and COMT replicates findings that too little or too much dopamine impairs cognitive control. The anatomic and functional separated maximally independent cortical EEG sources proved more informative than scalp channel measures for genetic studies of brain function and thus better elucidate the complex mechanisms in psychiatric illness.

Abstract

Cognitive or executive control is a critical mental ability, an important marker of mental illness, and among the most heritable of neurocognitive traits. Two candidate genes, catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) and DRD4, which both have a roles in the regulation of cortical dopamine, have been consistently associated with cognitive control. Here, we predicted that individuals with the COMT Met/Met allele would show improved response execution and inhibition as indexed by event-related potentials in a Go/NoGo task, while individuals with the DRD4 7-repeat allele would show impaired brain activity. We used independent component analysis (ICA) to separate brain source processes contributing to high-density EEG scalp signals recorded during the task. As expected, individuals with the DRD4 7-repeat polymorphism had reduced parietal P3 source and scalp responses to response (Go) compared to those without the 7-repeat. Contrary to our expectation, the COMT homozygous Met allele was associated with a smaller frontal P3 source and scalp response to response-inhibition (NoGo) stimuli, suggesting that while more dopamine in frontal cortical areas has advantages in some tasks, it may also compromise response inhibition function. An interaction effect emerged for P3 source responses to Go stimuli. These were reduced in those with both the 7-repeat DRD4 allele and either the COMT Val/Val or the Met/Met homozygous polymorphisms but not in those with the heterozygous Val/Met polymorphism. This epistatic interaction between DRD4 and COMT replicates findings that too little or too much dopamine impairs cognitive control. The anatomic and functional separated maximally independent cortical EEG sources proved more informative than scalp channel measures for genetic studies of brain function and thus better elucidate the complex mechanisms in psychiatric illness.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:11 Jan 2018 12:57
Last Modified:08 Apr 2018 01:02
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0896-0267
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10548-017-0601-z
PubMed ID:29222686

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