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BDNF Val66Met polymorphism influence on striatal blood-level-dependent response to monetary feedback depends on valence and agency.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2014
Author Chumbley J, Späti J, Dörig N, Brakowski J, Grosse Holtforth M, Seifritz E, Spinelli S,
Project Explicit and implicit change of depression in exposure-based cognitive therapy
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Neuroscience
Volume (Issue) 280C
Page(s) 130 - 141
Title of proceedings Neuroscience
DOI 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2014.09.014


Animal work implicates the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in function of the ventral striatum (VS), a region known for its role in processing valenced feedback. Recent evidence in humans shows that BDNF Val66Met polymorphism modulates VS activity in anticipation of monetary feedback. However, it remains unclear whether the polymorphism impacts the processing of self-attributed feedback differently from feedback attributed to an external agent. In this study, we emphasize the importance of the feedback attribution because agency is central to computational accounts of the striatum and cognitive accounts of valence processing. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging and a task, in which financial gains/losses are either attributable to performance (self-attributed, SA) or chance (externally-attributed, EA) to ask whether BDNF Val66Met polymorphism predicts VS activity. We found that BDNF Val66Met polymorphism influenced how feedback valence and agency information were combined in the VS and in the right inferior frontal junction (IFJ). Specifically, Met carriers' VS response to valenced feedback depended on agency information, while Val/Val carriers' VS response did not. This context-specific modulation of valence effectively amplified VS responses to SA losses in Met carriers. The IFJ response to SA losses also differentiated Val/Val from Met carriers. These results may point to a reduced allocation of attention and altered motivational salience to SA losses in Val/Val compared to Met carriers. Implications for major depressive disorder are discussed.