BDNF Val66Met Is Associated With Performance in a Computerized Visual-Motor Tracking Test in Healthy Adults

in Motor Control
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  • 1 Universidad Antonio Nariño
  • 2 Michigan Technological University
  • 3 University of Barcelona and Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior (IR3C)
  • 4 Universidad Colegio Mayor de Cundinamarca
  • 5 Bowdoin College
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The brain-derived neurotrophic factor gene (BDNF) is known to play an important role in neuroplasticity and cognitive processes. We explored the association of BDNF Val66Met polymorphism with performance in a visual-motor tracking test. One hundred and sixty-seven young, healthy Colombian adults completed a computerized version of the Pursuit Rotor Task, using the Psychology Experiment Building Language (PEBL) platform. DNA genotyping was performed by allele-specific polymerase chain reaction. We found that BDNF Val/Met and Met/Met subjects performed better in the pursuit rotor task (p = .03). Our findings suggest that the BDNF gene is essential to understand differences in motor performance in healthy participants in different populations. This approach could be useful for future fine mapping of genetic modifiers for neuropsychiatric diseases.

González-Giraldo and Forero are with the Laboratory of NeuroPsychiatric Genetics, Biomedical Sciences Research Group, School of Medicine, Universidad Antonio Nariño, Bogotá, Colombia. Rojas is with the School of Health Sciences, Universidad Colegio Mayor de Cundinamarca, Bogotá, Colombia. Mueller is with the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI. Piper is with the Neuroscience Program, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME. Adan is with the Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, University of Barcelona and the Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior (IR3C), Barcelona, Spain.

Address author correspondence to Diego Forero at