Enhancing dopamine tone modulates global and local cortical perfusion as a function of COMT val158met genotype

Daniella J. Furman, Ioannis Pappas, Robert L. White, Andrew S. Kayser, Mark D'Esposito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The cognitive effects of pharmacologically enhancing cortical dopamine (DA) tone are variable across healthy human adults. It has been postulated that individual differences in drug responses are linked to baseline cortical DA activity according to an inverted-U-shaped function. To better understand the effect of divergent starting points along this curve on DA drug responses, researchers have leveraged a common polymorphism (rs4680) in the gene encoding the enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) that gives rise to greater (Met allele) or lesser (Val allele) extracellular levels of cortical DA. Here we examined the extent to which changes in resting cortical perfusion following the administration of two mechanistically-distinct dopaminergic drugs vary by COMT genotype, and thereby track predictions of the inverted-U model. Using arterial spin labeling (ASL) and a double-blind, within-subject design, perfusion was measured in 75 healthy, genotyped participants once each after administration of tolcapone (a COMT inhibitor), bromocriptine (a DA D2/3 agonist), and placebo. COMT genotype and drug interacted such that COMT Val homozygotes exhibited increased prefusion in response to both drugs, whereas Met homozygotes did not. Additionally, tolcapone-related perfusion changes in the right inferior frontal gyrus correlated with altered performance on a task of executive function. No comparable effects were found for a genetic polymorphism (rs1800497) affecting striatal DA system function. Together, these results indicate that both the directionality and magnitude of drug-induced perfusion change provide meaningful information about individual differences in response to enhanced cortical DA tone.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118472
StatePublished - Nov 15 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Enhancing dopamine tone modulates global and local cortical perfusion as a function of COMT val158met genotype'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this