Neuronal Correlates of Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor Val66Met Polymorphism and Morphometric Abnormalities in Bipolar Disorder
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The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val66Met polymorphism has been proposed as a possible candidate for involvement in the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder (BD). To determine whether an association exists between the BDNF Val66Met genotype and morphometric abnormalities of the brain regions involved in memory and learning in BD and healthy subjects. Forty-two BD patients and 42 healthy subjects were studied. Interactions between BDNF Val66Met genotype and diagnosis in gray (GM) volumes were analyzed using an optimized voxel-based morphometry technique. Declarative memory function was assessed with the California Verbal Learning Test II. Left and right anterior cingulate GM volumes showed a significant interaction between genotype and diagnosis such that anterior cingulate GM volumes were significantly smaller in the Val/Met BD patients compared with the Val/Val BD patients (left P=0.01, right P=0.01). Within-group comparisons revealed that the Val/Met carriers showed smaller GM volumes of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex compared with the Val/Val subjects within the BD patient (P=0.01) and healthy groups (left P=0.03, right P=0.03). The Val/Met healthy subjects had smaller GM volumes of the left hippocampus compared with the Val/Val healthy subjects (P<0.01). There was a significant main effect of diagnosis on memory function (P=0.04), but no interaction between diagnosis and genotype was found (P=0.48). The findings support an association between the BDNF Val66Met genotype and differential gray matter content in brain structures, and suggest that the variation in this gene may play a more prominent role in brain structure differences in subjects affected with BD.
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