Association of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) polymorphism and academic achievement in a Chinese cohort

Ting Kuang Yeh, Chun Yen Chang, Chung Yi Hu, Ting Chi Yeh, Ming Yeh Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is a methylation enzyme that catalyzes the degradation pathway and inactivation of dopamine. It is accepted widely as being involved in the modulation of dopaminergic physiology and prefrontal cortex (PFC) function. The COMT Val158Met polymorphism is associated with variation in COMT activity. COMT 158Met allele may be advantageous for PFC-related cognitive abilities; however, it is also associated with increased anxiety, depression, and emotional vulnerability in response to stress or educational adversity. We hypothesized that the COMT polymorphism might be associated with academic performance. In this study, 779 Taiwanese tenth-grade volunteers were recruited. Scores from the Basic Competency Test (BCT), an annual national competitive entrance examination, were used to evaluate academic performance. The results indicated that students bearing homozygous for the Met allele tended to perform more poorly in all BCT subtests as compared to the other groups. In particular, the former performed significantly more poorly in the science and social science subtests. These findings provide evidence that affective factors might overwhelm cognitive abilities in high-stake tests like the BCT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-305
Number of pages6
JournalBrain and Cognition
Volume71
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Dec 1

Keywords

  • Academic performance
  • Basic Competency Test
  • Catechol-O-methyltransferase
  • Cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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