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COMT val158met predicts reward responsiveness in humans

Lancaster, T. M., Linden, David Edmund Johannes and Heerey, E. A. 2012. COMT val158met predicts reward responsiveness in humans. Genes, Brain and Behavior 11 (8) , pp. 986-992. 10.1111/j.1601-183X.2012.00838.x

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A functional variant of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene [val158met (rs4680)] is frequently implicated in decision-making and higher cognitive functions. It may achieve its effects by modulating dopamine-related decision-making and reward-guided behaviour. Here we demonstrate that individuals with the met/met polymorphism have greater responsiveness to reward than carriers of the val allele and that this correlates with risk-seeking behaviour. We assessed performance on a reward responsiveness task and the Balloon analogue risk task, which measure how participants (N = 70, western European, university and postgraduate students) respond to reward and take risks in the presence of available reward. Individuals with the met/met genotype (n = 19) showed significantly higher reward responsiveness, F2,64 = 4.02, P = 0.02, and reward-seeking behaviour, F(2,68) = 4.52, P = 0.01, than did either val/met (n = 25) or val/val (n = 26) carriers. These results highlight a scenario in which genotype-dependent reward responsiveness shapes reward-seeking, therefore suggesting a novel framework by which COMT may modulate behaviour.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: COMT, decision-making, dopamine, genetics, individual differences, reward, risk-taking
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 1601-1848
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:39

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