Cognitive dysfunction is one of the most incapacitating non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD). Some cognitive deficits are thought to be related to abnormal dopamine homeostasis. The latter is influenced by catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), an enzyme that degrades dopamine. Previous research suggests a relationship between the COMT val158met functional polymorphism (SNP) and measures of executive function. We evaluated this hypothesis in a cohort of PD patients with an extensive neuropsychological test battery. Cognitive assessment and COMT genotyping were performed in 153 early PD patients from outpatient clinics general hospitals in the Netherlands. Our results do not support a direct effect of COMT val158met genotype on performance on neuropsychological measures of attention and executive function, but they suggest that genotype may interact with dopaminergic medication use to influence cognitive ability.
© 2010 Movement Disorder Society.