Sex moderates the association between the COMT Val158Met single-nucleotide polymorphism and disorderliness facet of novelty seeking

Paolo Scacchia, Micaela Lucarelli, Maria Teresa Fiorenza, Sonia Canterini, Vilfredo De Pascalis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Previous studies have shown inconsistent results regarding the effect of the Val158Met polymorphism of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene on personality and cognition. Here, nonclinical Caucasian university students of Italian origin were administered the Temperament and Character Inventory–Revised, Tellegen Absorption Scale, Differential Attentional Processes Inventory, and Waterloo-Stanford Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility. We found that the COMT Val158Met polymorphism was significantly associated with the disorderliness facet of novelty seeking (NS4) and that sex was a moderator of this association. Females with the Met/Met genotype showed higher NS4 scores compared to those with the Val/Met and Val/Val genotypes. No significant genotype effect was found for males. Additionally, we failed to find a significant effect of the COMT gene on attention and hypnotic suggestibility measures. These results provide further evidence for a sex-specific influence on the gene–behaviour associations. Polymorphisms in dopamine system genes are reported to play a crucial role in influencing various aspects of plays a crucial role in influencing various aspects of personality traits and cognitive performance; however, previous studies have shown inconsistent results on the involvment of the functional Val158Met polymorphism of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene. In the present study, nonclinical Caucasian university students of Italian origin were administered the Temperament and Character Inventory-Revised, Tellegen Absorption Scale, Differential Attentional Processes Inventory, and Waterloo-Stanford Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility. We found that the COMT Val158Met polymorphism was significantly associated with the disorderliness facet of novelty seeking (NS4) and that sex was a moderator of this association. Females with the Met/Met genotype showed higher NS4 scores compared to those with the Val/Met and Val/Val genotypes. In contrast, no significant genotype effect was found for males. Additionally, we failed to find a significant association of COMT enzyme activity with attention and hypnotic suggestibility measures. These results provide further evidence of a sex-specific influence on the gene–behaviour association.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuroscience Research
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Attentional characteristics
  • COMT
  • Dopamine
  • Gene polymorphism
  • Hypnotic suggestibility
  • Novelty seeking
  • Personality traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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