Catechol-O-methyltransferase Val158met polymorphism interacts with early experience to predict executive functions in early childhood

Clancy Blair, Michael Sulik, Michael Willoughby, Roger Mills-Koonce, Stephen Petrill, Christopher Bartlett, Mark Greenberg, Family Life Project Investigators the Family Life Project Investigators, Lynne Vernon-Feagans, Martha Cox, Peg Burchinal, Patricia Garrett-Peters, Maureen Ittig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Numerous studies demonstrate that the Methionine variant of the catechol-O-methyltransferase Val158Met polymorphism, which confers less efficient catabolism of catecholamines, is associated with increased focal activation of prefrontal cortex (PFC) and higher levels of executive function abilities. By and large, however, studies of COMT Val158Met have been conducted with adult samples and do not account for the context in which development is occurring. Effects of early adversity on stress response physiology and the inverted U shape relating catecholamine levels to neural activity in PFC indicate the need to take into account early experience when considering relations between genes such as COMT and executive cognitive ability. Consistent with this neurobiology, we find in a prospective longitudinal sample of children and families (N=1292) that COMT Val158Met interacts with early experience to predict executive function abilities in early childhood. Specifically, the Valine variant of the COMT Val158Met polymorphism, which confers more rather than less efficient catabolism of catecholamines is associated with higher executive function abilities at child ages 48 and 60 months and with faster growth of executive function for children experiencing early adversity, as indexed by cumulative risk factors in the home at child ages 7, 15, 24, and 36 months. Findings indicate the importance of the early environment for the relation between catecholamine genes and developmental outcomes and demonstrate that the genetic moderation of environmental risk is detectable in early childhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-841
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental Psychobiology
Volume57
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

Fingerprint

Catechol O-Methyltransferase
Aptitude
Executive Function
Catecholamines
Prefrontal Cortex
Developmental Genes
Neurobiology
Valine
Methionine
Growth
Genes

Keywords

  • Attention
  • Early experience
  • Polymorphism
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

Catechol-O-methyltransferase Val158met polymorphism interacts with early experience to predict executive functions in early childhood. / Blair, Clancy; Sulik, Michael; Willoughby, Michael; Mills-Koonce, Roger; Petrill, Stephen; Bartlett, Christopher; Greenberg, Mark; the Family Life Project Investigators, Family Life Project Investigators; Vernon-Feagans, Lynne; Cox, Martha; Burchinal, Peg; Garrett-Peters, Patricia; Ittig, Maureen.

In: Developmental Psychobiology, Vol. 57, No. 7, 01.11.2015, p. 833-841.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Blair, C, Sulik, M, Willoughby, M, Mills-Koonce, R, Petrill, S, Bartlett, C, Greenberg, M, the Family Life Project Investigators, FLPI, Vernon-Feagans, L, Cox, M, Burchinal, P, Garrett-Peters, P & Ittig, M 2015, 'Catechol-O-methyltransferase Val158met polymorphism interacts with early experience to predict executive functions in early childhood', Developmental Psychobiology, vol. 57, no. 7, pp. 833-841. https://doi.org/10.1002/dev.21332
Blair, Clancy ; Sulik, Michael ; Willoughby, Michael ; Mills-Koonce, Roger ; Petrill, Stephen ; Bartlett, Christopher ; Greenberg, Mark ; the Family Life Project Investigators, Family Life Project Investigators ; Vernon-Feagans, Lynne ; Cox, Martha ; Burchinal, Peg ; Garrett-Peters, Patricia ; Ittig, Maureen. / Catechol-O-methyltransferase Val158met polymorphism interacts with early experience to predict executive functions in early childhood. In: Developmental Psychobiology. 2015 ; Vol. 57, No. 7. pp. 833-841.
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