Effects of theBrain-Derived Neurotrophic FactorVal66Met polymorphism and resting brain functional connectivity on individual differences in tactile cognitive performance in healthy young adults

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Abstract

Cognitive processes involve input from multiple sensory modalities and obvious differences in the level of cognitive function can be observed between individuals. Evidence to date understanding the biological basis of tactile cognitive variability, however, is limited compared with other forms of sensory cognition. Data from auditory and visual cognition research suggest that variations in both genetics and intrinsic brain function might contribute to individual differences in tactile cognitive performance. In the present study, by using the tactual performance test (TPT), a widely used neuropsychological assessment tool, we investigated the effects of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val66Met polymorphism and resting-state brain functional connectivity (FC) on interindividual variability in TPT performance in healthy, young Chinese adults. Our results showed that the BDNF genotypes and resting-state FC had significant effects on the variability in TPT performance, together accounting for 32.5% and 19.1% of the variance on TPT total score and Memory subitem score respectively. Having fewer Met alleles, stronger anticorrelations between left posterior superior temporal gyrus and somatosensory areas (right postcentral gyrus and right parietal operculum cortex), and greater positive correlation between left parietal operculum cortex and left central opercular cortex, all correspond with better performance of TPT task. And FC between left parietal operculum cortex and left central opercular cortex might be a mediator of the relationship between BDNF genotypes and Memory subitem score. These data demonstrate a novel contribution of intrinsic brain function to tactile cognitive capacity, and further confirm the genetic basis of tactile cognition. Our findings might also explain the interindividual differences in cognitive ability observed in those who are blind and/or deaf from a new perspective.

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