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Biol Psychol. 2017 Dec;130:41-49. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.10.002. Epub 2017 Oct 5.

BDNF Val66Met polymorphism modulates the effect of loneliness on white matter microstructure in young adults.

Author information

1
Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality (SWU), Ministry of Education, Chongqing 400715, China; Department of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China.
2
State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning & IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China; Department of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China.
3
Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality (SWU), Ministry of Education, Chongqing 400715, China; Department of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China. Electronic address: qiuj318@swu.edu.cn.

Abstract

Loneliness is a common experience. Susceptibility to loneliness is a stable trait and is heritable. Previous studies have suggested that loneliness may impact regional gray matter density and brain activation to social stimuli, but its relation to white matter structure and how it may interact with genetic factors remains unclear. In this study, we investigated whether and how a common polymorphism (Val66Met) in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor gene modulated the association between loneliness and white matter microstructure in 162 young adults. The tract-based spatial statistics analyses revealed that the relationships between loneliness and white matter microstructures were significantly different between Val/Met heterozygotes and Val/Val homozygotes. Specifically, loneliness was significantly correlated with reduced fractional anisotropy and increased radial diffusivity in widespread white matter fibers within Val/Met heterozygotes. It was also significantly correlated with increased radial diffusivity in Met/Met genotypes but showed no significant association with white matter measures in Val/Val genotypes. Furthermore, the associations between loneliness and fractional anisotropy (or radial diffusivity) in Val/Met heterozygotes turned out to be global effects. These results provide evidence that loneliness may interact with the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism to shape the microstructures of white matter, and the Val/Met heterozygotes may be more susceptible to social environment.

KEYWORDS:

BDNF; Diffusion tensor imaging; Loneliness; White matter microstructure; rs6265

PMID:
28988974
DOI:
10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.10.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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