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Effects of COMT genotype and tolcapone on lapses of sustained attention after sleep deprivation in healthy young men


Valomon, Amandine; Holst, Sebastian C; Borrello, Alessandro; Weigend, Susanne; Müller, Thomas; Berger, Wolfgang; Sommerauer, Michael; Baumann, Christian R; Landolt, Hans-Peter (2018). Effects of COMT genotype and tolcapone on lapses of sustained attention after sleep deprivation in healthy young men. Neuropsychopharmacology, 43(7):1599-1607.

Abstract

Tolcapone, a brain penetrant selective inhibitor of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) devoid of psychostimulant properties, improves cognition and cortical information processing in rested volunteers, depending on the genotype of the functional Val158Met polymorphism of COMT. The impact of this common genetic variant on behavioral and neurophysiological markers of increased sleep need after sleep loss is controversial. Here we investigated the potential usefulness of tolcapone to mitigate consequences of sleep deprivation on lapses of sustained attention, and tested the hypothesis that dopamine signaling in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) causally contributes to neurobehavioral and neurophysiological markers of sleep homeostasis in humans. We first quantified in 73 young male volunteers the impact of COMT genotype on the evolution of attentional lapses during 40 h of extended wakefulness. Subsequently, we tested in an independent group of 30 young men whether selective inhibition of COMT activity with tolcapone counteracts attentional and neurophysiological markers of elevated sleep need in a genotype-dependent manner. Neither COMT genotype nor tolcapone affected brain electrical activity in wakefulness and sleep. By contrast, COMT genotype and tolcapone modulated the sleep loss-induced impairment of vigilant attention. More specifically, Val/Met heterozygotes produced twice as many lapses after a night without sleep than Met/Met homozygotes. Unexpectedly, tolcapone further deteriorated the sleep loss-induced performance deficits when compared to placebo, particularly in Val/Met and Met/Met genotypes. The findings suggest that PFC dopaminergic tone regulates sustained attention after sleep loss according to an inverse U-shaped relationship, independently of neurophysiological markers of elevated sleep need.

Abstract

Tolcapone, a brain penetrant selective inhibitor of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) devoid of psychostimulant properties, improves cognition and cortical information processing in rested volunteers, depending on the genotype of the functional Val158Met polymorphism of COMT. The impact of this common genetic variant on behavioral and neurophysiological markers of increased sleep need after sleep loss is controversial. Here we investigated the potential usefulness of tolcapone to mitigate consequences of sleep deprivation on lapses of sustained attention, and tested the hypothesis that dopamine signaling in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) causally contributes to neurobehavioral and neurophysiological markers of sleep homeostasis in humans. We first quantified in 73 young male volunteers the impact of COMT genotype on the evolution of attentional lapses during 40 h of extended wakefulness. Subsequently, we tested in an independent group of 30 young men whether selective inhibition of COMT activity with tolcapone counteracts attentional and neurophysiological markers of elevated sleep need in a genotype-dependent manner. Neither COMT genotype nor tolcapone affected brain electrical activity in wakefulness and sleep. By contrast, COMT genotype and tolcapone modulated the sleep loss-induced impairment of vigilant attention. More specifically, Val/Met heterozygotes produced twice as many lapses after a night without sleep than Met/Met homozygotes. Unexpectedly, tolcapone further deteriorated the sleep loss-induced performance deficits when compared to placebo, particularly in Val/Met and Met/Met genotypes. The findings suggest that PFC dopaminergic tone regulates sustained attention after sleep loss according to an inverse U-shaped relationship, independently of neurophysiological markers of elevated sleep need.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology

04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Pharmacology, Psychiatry and Mental health
Language:English
Date:5 February 2018
Deposited On:15 Feb 2018 14:00
Last Modified:19 Aug 2018 14:18
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:0893-133X
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41386-018-0018-8

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