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Nonlinear modulation of interacting between COMT and depression on brain function

  • L. Gong (a1), C. He (a1), Y. Yin (a2), Q. Ye (a1), F. Bai (a1) (a3), Y. Yuan (a2) (a3), H. Zhang (a4), L. Lv (a4), H. Zhang (a4), Z. Zhang (a1) (a3) and C. Xie (a1) (a3)...



The catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene is related to dopamine degradation and has been suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis of major depressive disorder (MDD). However, how this gene affects brain function properties in MDD is still unclear.


Fifty patients with MDD and 35 cognitively normal participants underwent a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scan. A voxelwise and data-drive global functional connectivity density (gFCD) analysis was used to investigate the main effects and the interactions of disease states and COMT rs4680 gene polymorphism on brain function.


We found significant group differences of the gFCD in bilateral fusiform area (FFA), post-central and pre-central cortex, left superior temporal gyrus (STG), rectal and superior temporal gyrus and right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC); abnormal gFCDs in left STG were positively correlated with severity of depression in MDD group. Significant disease × COMT interaction effects were found in the bilateral calcarine gyrus, right vlPFC, hippocampus and thalamus, and left SFG and FFA. Further post-hoc tests showed a nonlinear modulation effect of COMT on gFCD in the development of MDD. Interestingly, an inverted U-shaped modulation was found in the prefrontal cortex (control system) but U-shaped modulations were found in the hippocampus, thalamus and occipital cortex (processing system).


Our study demonstrated nonlinear modulation of the interaction between COMT and depression on brain function. These findings expand our understanding of the COMT effect underlying the pathophysiology of MDD.


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*Corresponding author. Fax: +86 25 8328 5132. E-mail (C. Xie).


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The authors contribute equally to this article.



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Nonlinear modulation of interacting between COMT and depression on brain function

  • L. Gong (a1), C. He (a1), Y. Yin (a2), Q. Ye (a1), F. Bai (a1) (a3), Y. Yuan (a2) (a3), H. Zhang (a4), L. Lv (a4), H. Zhang (a4), Z. Zhang (a1) (a3) and C. Xie (a1) (a3)...


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Nonlinear modulation of interacting between COMT and depression on brain function

  • L. Gong (a1), C. He (a1), Y. Yin (a2), Q. Ye (a1), F. Bai (a1) (a3), Y. Yuan (a2) (a3), H. Zhang (a4), L. Lv (a4), H. Zhang (a4), Z. Zhang (a1) (a3) and C. Xie (a1) (a3)...
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