Differences in Cognitive Outcomes After ECT Depending on BDNF and COMT Polymorphisms

Daniel Mark Bennett, James Currie, Gordon Fernie, Jennifer S. Perrin, Ian C. Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The study aimed to explore cognitive outcomes after electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) depending on which version of common single nucleotide polymorphisms the patient expressed for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT).

Methods: A total of 87 patients from the clinical ECT service in Aberdeen, Scotland, were included in the study. Cognitive function testing (using Spatial Recognition Memory task from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery and Mini-Mental State Examination) and mood ratings (Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale) were performed before ECT, after 4 treatments, at the end of ECT and 1 and 3 months after the end of treatment. These scores were compared depending on BDNF and COMT variant at each time point using the Student t test and using a time series generalized least squares random effects model.

Results: No differences were found between the val and met versions of the BDNF or COMT polymorphism in either cognitive or mood outcomes at any time point during ECT treatment or up to 3 months of follow-up.

Conclusions: This study did not detect significant differences in cognitive or mood outcomes between patients who have the val66val or met versions of the BDNF polymorphism. Our results suggest that these polymorphisms will not be helpful in clinical practice for predicting cognitive outcomes after ECT.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243–250
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of ECT
Issue number4
Early online date17 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • ECT
  • BDNF
  • COMT
  • electroconvulsive therapy


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