Association between cognitive functioning, exposure to Herpes Simplex Virus type 1, and the COMT Val158Met genetic polymorphism in adults without a psychiatric disorder

Faith Dickerson, Cassie Stallings, Anne Sullens, Andrea Origoni, Flora Leister, Bogdana Krivogorsky, Robert Yolken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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 IgG antibodies to HSV-1 by enzyme immunoassay and employed real time PCR to measure COMT 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 with the domain of delayed memory. Serological evidence of HSV-1 infection was associated with an 18-fold increased odds 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 Val158Val genotype are risk factors for cognitive deficits in non-elderly persons without a psychiatric disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1103-1107
Number of pages5
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Volume22
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2008

Keywords

  • COMT Val158Met polymorphism
  • Cognition
  • Herpes Simplex Virus type 1
  • Herpes infection
  • Memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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