The effect of BDNF val66met polymorphism on visuomotor adaptation
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Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in learning, memory, and brain plasticity. Humans with a val66met polymorphism in the BDNF gene have reduced levels of BDNF and alterations in motor learning and short-term cortical plasticity. In the current study, we sought to further explore the role of BDNF in motor learning by testing human subjects on a visuomotor adaptation task. In experiment 1, 21 subjects with the polymorphism (val/met) and 21 matched controls (val/val) were tested during learning, short-term retention (45 min), long-term retention (24 h), and de-adaptation of a 60° visuomotor deviation. We measured both mean error as well as rate of adaptation during each session. There was no difference in mean error between groups; however, val/met subjects had a reduced rate of adaptation during learning as well as during long-term retention, but not short-term retention or de-adaptation. In experiment 2, 12 val/met and 12 val/val subjects were tested on a larger 80° deviation, revealing a more pronounced difference in mean error during adaptation than the 60° deviation. These results suggest that BDNF may play an important role in visuomotor adaptive processes in the human.
KeywordsBrain-derived neurotrophic factor val/met polymorphism Visuomotor adaptation Motor learning
V.L-A, AL, and PG-G were financed by the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (DEP2011-22466), (Ministry of Science and Innovation), Spain. PG-G and PM were supported by grants from the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación de España (Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation) (SAF2007-60700); Instituto de Salud Carlos III (PI10/01674); the Consejería de Innovación, Ciencia y Empresa de la Junta de Andalucía (Department of Innovation, Science and Business of Andalusia) (CVI-02526, CTS-7685); the Consejería de Salud de la Junta de Andalucía (Department of Health of Andalusia) (PI-0377/2007, PI-0741/2010), the Sociedad Andaluza de Neurología and the Jaques and Gloria Gossweiler Foundation. PG-G was also supported by the ‘Miguel Servet’ program from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III. RAJ, JB, NJ, and PB were supported by the Medical Research Council UK, PDUK, and the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.
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