The interaction effect between BDNF val66met polymorphism and obesity on executive functions and frontal structure

Authors

  • Idoia Marqués-Iturria,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
    2. Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour (IR3C), University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Maite Garolera,

    1. Grup de Recerca Consolidat en Neuropsicologia (SGR0941), University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
    2. Neuropsychology Unit, Hospital de Terrassa, Consorci Sanitari de Terrassa, Terrassa, Spain
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  • Roser Pueyo,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
    2. Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour (IR3C), University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
    3. Grup de Recerca Consolidat en Neuropsicologia (SGR0941), University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Bàrbara Segura,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
    2. Grup de Recerca Consolidat en Neuropsicologia (SGR0941), University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Imma Hernan,

    1. Molecular Genetics Unit, Hospital de Terrassa, Consorci Sanitari de Terrassa, Terrassa, Spain
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  • Isabel García-García,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
    2. Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour (IR3C), University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Consuelo Sánchez-Garre,

    1. Pediatric Endocrinology Unit, Department of Pediatrics, Hospital de Terrassa, Consorci Sanitari de Terrassa, Terrassa, Spain
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  • María Vernet-Vernet,

    1. CAP Terrassa Nord, Consorci Sanitari de Terrassa, Terrassa, Spain
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  • María José Sender-Palacios,

    1. CAP Terrassa Nord, Consorci Sanitari de Terrassa, Terrassa, Spain
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  • Ana Narberhaus,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Mar Ariza,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Carme Junqué,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
    2. Grup de Recerca Consolidat en Neuropsicologia (SGR0941), University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
    3. Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Spain
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  • María Ángeles Jurado

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
    2. Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour (IR3C), University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
    3. Grup de Recerca Consolidat en Neuropsicologia (SGR0941), University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
    • Correspondence to:

      María Ángeles Jurado, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, University of Barcelona, Passeig de la Vall d'Hebron, 171, 08035 Barcelona, Spain.

      E-mail: majurado@ub.edu

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Abstract

The prevalence of obesity is increasing worldwide. Previous research has shown a relationship between obesity and both executive functioning alterations and frontal cortex volume reductions. The Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor val66met polymorphism, involved in eating behavior, has also been associated with executive functions and prefrontal cortex volume, but to date it has not been studied in relation to obesity. Our aim is to elucidate whether the interaction between the Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor val66met polymorphism and obesity status influences executive performance and frontal-subcortical brain structure. Sixty-one volunteers, 34 obese and 27 controls, age range 12–40, participated in the study. Participants were assigned to one of two genotype groups (met allele carriers, n = 16, or non-carriers, n = 45). Neuropsychological assessment comprised the Trail Making Test, the Stroop Test and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, all tasks that require response inhibition and cognitive flexibility. Subjects underwent magnetic resonance imaging in a Siemens TIM TRIO 3T scanner and images were analyzed using the FreeSurfer software. Analyses of covariance controlling for age and intelligence showed an effect of the obesity-by-genotype interaction on perseverative responses on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test as well as on precentral and caudal middle frontal cortical thickness: obese met allele carriers showed more perseverations on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test and lower frontal thickness than obese non-carriers and controls. In conclusion, the Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor may play an important role in executive functioning and frontal brain structure in obesity. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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