The effects of gender and COMT Val158Met polymorphism on fearful facial affect recognition:a fMRI study


The functional catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT Val108/158Met) polymorphism has been shown to have an impact on tasks of executive function, memory and attention and recently, tasks with an affective component. As oestrogen reduces COMT activity, we focused on the interaction between gender and COMT genotype on brain activations during an affective processing task. We used functional MRI (fMRI) to record brain activations from 74 healthy subjects who engaged in a facial affect recognition task; subjects viewed and identified fearful compared to neutral faces. There was no main effect of the COMT polymorphism, gender or genotypegender interaction on task performance. We found a significant effect of gender on brain activations in the left amygdala and right temporal pole, where females demonstrated increased activations over males. Within these regions, Val/Val carriers showed greater signal magnitude compared to Met/Met carriers, particularly in females. The COMT Val108/158Met polymorphism impacts on gender-related patterns of activation in limbic and paralimbic regions but the functional significance of any oestrogen-related COMT inhibition appears modest.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Biosciences
College of Health & Life Sciences > Clinical and Systems Neuroscience
Additional Information: Copyright © 2008 CINP
Uncontrolled Keywords: Amygdala,gender,fMRI,fear,COMT
Publication ISSN: 1469-5111
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2024 07:10
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2013 12:27
Full Text Link: http://journals ... ine&aid=4788556
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2009-04
Published Online Date: 2008-09-17
Authors: Kempton, Matthew J.
Haldane, Morgan
Jogia, Jigar (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-1799-1245)
Christodoulou, Tessa
Powell, John
Collier, David
Williams, Steven C.R.
Frangou, Sophia



Version: Published Version

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