Neuroticism and genetic variation in the serotonin-transporter (SLC6A4) and catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene are risk factors for psychopathology. Alterations in the functional integration and segregation of neural circuits have recently been found in individuals scoring higher on neuroticism. The aim of the current study was to investigate how genetic risk factors impact functional network organization and whether genetic risk factors moderate the association between neuroticism and functional network organization. We applied graph theory analysis on resting-state fMRI data in a sample of 120 women selected based on their neuroticism score, and genotyped two polymorphisms: 5-HTTLPR (S-carriers and L-homozygotes) and COMT (rs4680-rs165599; COMT risk group and COMT non-risk group). For the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism, we found that subnetworks related to cognitive control show less connections with other subnetworks in S-carriers compared to L-homozygotes. The COMT polymorphism moderated the association between neuroticism and functional network organization. We found that neuroticism was associated with lower efficiency coefficients in visual and somatosensory-motor subnetworks in the COMT risk group compared to the COMT non-risk group. The findings of altered topology of specific subnetworks point to different cognitive-emotional processes that may be affected in relation to the genetic risk factors, concerning emotion regulation in S-carriers (5-HTTLPR) and emotional salience processing in COMT risk carriers.
Brain Imaging and Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 14, 2016
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