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Genotypes are related to neurocognitive performance but not concussion history in collegiate student-athletes
  1. Eric E Hall1,
  2. Graham D. Cochrane2,
  3. Mark Sundman3,
  4. Matthew C Kostek4,
  5. Kirtida Patel5,
  6. Kenneth P Barnes1,
  7. Caroline J Ketcham1
  1. 1Department of Exercise Science and Elon BrainCARE, Elon University, Elon NC, USA
  2. 2Elon BrainCARE, Elon University, Elon NC, USA
  3. 3Research Fellow Brain Imaging and Analysis Centre, Duke University, Medical Centre, Durham, NC, USA
  4. 4Department of Physical Therapy, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
  5. 5Department of Sports Medicine and Elon BrainCARE, Elon University, Elon NC, USA


Background Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of neurologically relevant genes play a role in concussions from increasing susceptibility or hampering cognitive performance.

Objective The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of polymorphisms of APOE, APOE promoter, COMT and DRD2 on baseline neurocognitive function and concussion history in collegiate student-athletes.

Design Cross-sectional.

Setting Collegiate campus in North Carolina.

Participants 262 (194 males, 68 females) collegiate student-athletes.

Assessment of risk factors Buccal mucosa swabs were collected from participants. SNP genotyping was run on all samples to determine APOE, APOE promoter, COMT, and DRD2 genotypes. Participants were split into three groups based on their genotypes for each gene.

Outcome measures Participants completed the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing neurocognitive assessment which generated composite scores on Verbal Memory, Visual Memory, Visuomotor Speed, and Reaction Time as well as Impulse Control

Results None of the genotype variables influenced number of concussions (p>0.05). MANOVA analysis determined no differences for APOE promoter and DRD2 genotypes (p>0.05). There were statistical differences for APOE for Visuomotor composite (APOE-e3 (m=41.2, %95 CI [40.8, 42.1]) vs e4 (m=39.1, %95 CI [37.8, 40.5], p=0.017) and Reaction Time (APOE-e4 (m=0.62, %95 CI [0.60, 0.64]) was different than both e2 (m=0.57, %95 CI [0.54, 0.60] and e3(m=0.58, %95 CI [0.56, 0.59], p<0.005). There were also differences for COMT for Impulse Control (Val/Val (m=6.2 %95 CI [5.4, 7.1]) was different Val/Met (m=4.7, %95 CI [4.1, 5.2] and Met/Met (m=4.7, %95 CI [3.8, 5.6], p<0.02).

Conclusions APOE and COMT single nucleotide polymorphisms lead to significant differences in neurocognitive performance at baseline but not concussion history.

Competing interests None.

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