Event Abstract

The effects on resting state EEG activity of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met rs4680 polymorphism, and the relationship to schizotypy

  • 1 Western Sydney University, NICM, Australia
  • 2 Brain & Behaviour Research Institute and School of Psychology, University of Wollongong, Australia
  • 3 Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute and Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health, University of Wollongong, Australia
  • 4 Schizophrenia Research Institute, Australia
  • 5 School of Science, Australian Catholic University, Australia
  • 6 Macquarie University, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, Australia

Aims: Schizophrenia, at the clinical end of the schizotypy spectrum, is characterised by abnormal electroencephalogram (EEG) profiles and dopamine dysregulation. The gene encoding the dopamine degrading enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is thought to be a schizophrenia spectrum disorder susceptibility gene, with the Val variant (cf. Met) identified as the primary risk allele. To date, few studies have investigated the link between schizotypy, EEG activity, and the COMT Val158Met polymorphism; this is the aim of this present study. Methods: Ninety-one healthy participants (Mean age = 21.4, SD = 5.0 years) had 4 minutes eyes-open resting state EEG activity recorded, were genotyped for the COMT rs4680 polymorphism (Val/Val, Val/Met, and Met/Met), and completed the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ; a 74-item true or false self-report); different facets of schizotypy were assessed. Results: Participant genotypes was represented as 22 % Val/Val, 44 % Val/Met, and 34 % Met/Met. Suspiciousness SPQ sub-scale scores were significantly lower for Val/Met genotype individuals compared to homozygous Val/Val and Met/Met genotypes. Val/Val genotype individuals showed reduced parietal delta, fronto-midline theta, parieto-midline alpha-2, fronto-midline beta-1 amplitudes, and reduced midline beta-2 (cf. Met/Met genotype individuals). Stepwise multiple regression showed that higher levels of delta, and lower levels of theta and beta-2 predicted 11.4 % unique variance in total SPQ scores. Conclusions: Findings indicate the importance of COMT in determining EEG oscillatory activity and trait suspiciousness, and suggest that neurophysiological function may serve as an intermediate between trait schizotypy and COMT-related differences in dopaminergic transmission. Results from theta and beta activity in this study contradict some patterns observed in schizophrenia, thus future studies should seek to replicate these COMT and EEG related findings in clinical groups.

Keywords: Electroencephalograph (EEG), COMT, schizotypy, Schizophrenia, Dopamine

Conference: ASP2017: 27th Annual Meeting for the Australasian Society for Psychophysiology, Parramatta, Australia, 29 Nov - 1 Dec, 2017.

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Topic: Abstract (Student Award)

Citation: Coles M, Steiner GZ, Fernandez F, Karamacoska D, Barkus E, Broyd S, Solowij N, Chiu C, Lind J and Barry RJ (2019). The effects on resting state EEG activity of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met rs4680 polymorphism, and the relationship to schizotypy. Conference Abstract: ASP2017: 27th Annual Meeting for the Australasian Society for Psychophysiology. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnhum.2017.224.00002

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Received: 30 Oct 2017; Published Online: 25 Jan 2019.

* Correspondence: Miss. Madilyn Coles, Western Sydney University, NICM, Penrith, NSW, 2751, Australia, 18353479@student.westernsydney.edu.au