• BDNF ;
  • bimanual;
  • genetics;
  • motor;
  • Preilowski's task;
  • rs6265;
  • single nucleotide polymorphism;
  • Val66Met


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays a critical role in brain development. A common single nucleotide polymorphism in the gene encoding BDNF (rs6265, Val66Met) affects BDNF release and has been associated with altered learning and memory performance, and with structural changes in brain morphology and corpus callosum integrity. BDNF Val66Met has more recently been shown to influence motor learning and performance. Some of the BDNF effects seem to be modulated by an individual's sex, but currently the relationship between BDNF and sex in the motor domain remains elusive. Here, we investigate the relationship between BDNF Val66Met genotype and an individual's sex in the motor system. Seventy-six healthy, previously genotyped, individuals performed a task in which the participant drew lines at different angles of varying difficulty. Subjects controlled the horizontal and vertical movement of the line on a computer screen by rotating two cylinders. We used this bimanual motor control task to measure contributions from both current motor function and the pre-existing interhemispheric connectivity. We report that BDNF genotype interacts with sex to influence the motor performance of healthy participants in this bimanual motor control task. We further report that the BDNF genotype by sex interaction was present in the more difficult trials only, which is in line with earlier findings that genetic effects may become apparent only when a system is challenged. Our results emphasize the importance of taking sex into account when investigating the role of BDNF genotype in the motor system.