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ASSOCIATION BETWEEN COGNITIVE FUNCTIONING, EXPOSURE TO HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS TYPE 1, AND THE COMT VAL158MET GENETIC POLYMORPHISM IN ADULTS WITHOUT A PSYCHIATRIC DISORDER

Brain Behav Immun. 2008 Jun 18. [Epub ahead of print]

Dickerson F, Stallings C, Sullens A, Origoni A, Leister F, Krivogorsky B, Yolken R

Stanley Research Program, Sheppard Pratt, Baltimore, MD, USA

ABSTRACT

Previous studies have documented that serologic evidence of infection with the neurotropic human herpesvirus Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV-1) is associated with increased levels of cognitive dysfunction in individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The catechol-o-methyl transferase (COMT) Val158Met polymorphism has also been associated with cognitive dysfunction in individuals with psychiatric disorders as well as in some control populations. We examined whether these factors are independently associated with cognitive functioning in adults without a history of a psychiatric disorder. A total of 240 individuals were evaluated with the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). We measured IG antibodies to HSV-1 by enzyme immunoassay and employed real time PCR to measure COMPT Val158Met genotypes. Serological evidence of HSV-1 was significantly associated with a lower RBANS total score independent of demographic factors and the COMT Val158Met genotype. The strongest association between cognitive functioning and serological evidence of HSv-1 infection was the domain of delayed memory. Serological evidence of HSV-1 infection was associated with an 18-fold increased odd of having a severe impairment in this domain. The Val/Val genotype of the COMT Val158Met polymorphism was also significantly associated with the RBANS total score and with a moderate decrease in the domain of attention. Infections with HSV-1 and the COMT Val185Val genotype are risk factors for cognitive deficits in non-elderly persons without a psychiatric disorder.

 

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