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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(11), 1886; doi:10.3390/ijms17111886

Altered Episodic Memory in Introverted Young Adults Carrying the BDNFMet Allele

1
Department of Psychology, University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres, 3351 Boulevard des Forges, Trois-Rivières, QC G9A 5H7, Canada
2
Department of Psychology, University of Montreal, 2900 Boulevard Edouard-Montpetit, Montréal, QC H3T 1J4, Canada
3
Montreal Sacred Heart Hospital Research Centre, Montreal, QC H4J 1C5, Canada
4
Douglas Mental Health University Institute, 6875 Boulevard LaSalle, Verdun, QC H4H 1R3, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Margaret Fahnestock and Keri Martinowich
Received: 11 August 2016 / Revised: 8 November 2016 / Accepted: 8 November 2016 / Published: 12 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurotrophic Factors—Historical Perspective and New Directions)
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Abstract

While most studies have been interested in the distinct, predisposing roles of the common BDNF Val66Met variant and extraversion personality traits on episodic memory, very few studies have looked at the synergistic effects of genetic and personality factors to account for cognitive variance. This is surprising considering recent reports challenging the long-held belief that the BDNFMet variant negatively impacts cognitive function. A total of 75 young healthy adults (26 of them carried at least one copy of the BDNFMet allele) took part in this study consisting of genetic profiling from saliva, personality assessment using the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R) and a short battery of neuropsychological tests. An ANOVA revealed that BDNFMet carriers were significantly less extraverted than BDNFVal carriers (F1,73 = 9.54; p < 0.01; ηp2 = 0.126). Moreover, extraversion was found to significantly moderate the relationship between the BDNF genotype and episodic memory performance (p = 0.03). Subsequent correlational analyses yielded a strong and significant correlation (r = 0.542; p < 0.005) between introversion and delayed episodic memory specific to BDNFMet individuals. The present study suggests that introversion and the BDNFMet variant synergistically interact to reduce episodic memory performance in healthy, young adults. These findings reaffirm that a more accurate explanation of cognitive variance can be achieved by looking at the synergistic effects of genotype and phenotype factors. View Full-Text
Keywords: brain-derived neurotrophic factor; personality trait; memory brain-derived neurotrophic factor; personality trait; memory
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Bombardier, A.; Beauchemin, M.; Gosselin, N.; Poirier, J.; De Beaumont, L. Altered Episodic Memory in Introverted Young Adults Carrying the BDNFMet Allele. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 1886.

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