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Fine-mapping of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene supports an association of the Val66Met polymorphism with episodic memory

  • Flurin Cathomas (a1) (a2), Christian Vogler (a1) (a2), Jessica C. Euler-Sigmund (a1) (a2), Dominique J.-F. de Quervain (a3) (a4) and Andreas Papassotiropoulos (a1) (a2)...

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in hippocampal synaptic plasticity and long-term potentiation. A valine (Val) to methionine (Met) substitution in the BDNF gene (Val66Met) has been associated with episodic memory performance. This study aimed at fine-mapping the genomic region harbouring BDNF and the adjacent gene, BDNFOS, in order to identify other possible memory-related gene variants. Healthy young Swiss adults (n=333) underwent a verbal memory free-recall task which used words with both neutral and emotional content. Genetic variability of the BDNF and BDNFOS region was covered by analysing 55 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Among all examined SNPs, the non-synonymous Val66Met SNP rs6265 showed the highest significant level of association with memory performance for words with emotional content. Recall performance for neutral words was unrelated to the analysed SNPs. Our results support a role for the Val66Met BDNF polymorphism in episodic memory and suggest a modulatory influence of emotional valence.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: F. Cathomas, Division of Molecular Psychology, University of Basel, Missionsstr. 60/62, 4055Basel, Switzerland. Tel.: +41 61 2670588Fax: +41 61 2673398Email:
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The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
  • ISSN: 1461-1457
  • EISSN: 1469-5111
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