NeuroImage (Jun 2021)

Brain predictive coding processes are associated to COMT gene Val158Met polymorphism

  • L. Bonetti,
  • S.E.P. Bruzzone,
  • N.A. Sedghi,
  • N.T. Haumann,
  • T. Paunio,
  • K. Kantojärvi,
  • M. Kliuchko,
  • P. Vuust,
  • E. Brattico

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 233
p. 117954


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Predicting events in the ever-changing environment is a fundamental survival function intrinsic to the physiology of sensory systems, whose efficiency varies among the population. Even though it is established that a major source of such variations is genetic heritage, there are no studies tracking down auditory predicting processes to genetic mutations. Thus, we examined the neurophysiological responses to deviant stimuli recorded with magnetoencephalography (MEG) in 108 healthy participants carrying different variants of Val158Met single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) within the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene, responsible for the majority of catecholamines degradation in the prefrontal cortex. Our results showed significant amplitude enhancement of prediction error responses originating from the inferior frontal gyrus, superior and middle temporal cortices in heterozygous genotype carriers (Val/Met) vs homozygous (Val/Val and Met/Met) carriers. Integrating neurophysiology and genetics, this study shows how the neural mechanisms underlying optimal deviant detection vary according to the gene-determined cathecolamine levels in the brain.