The effect of BDNF val66met polymorphism on visuomotor adaptation

Raed A Joundi, Virginia Lopez-Alonso, Angel Lago, John-Stuart Brittain, Miguel Fernandez-Del-Olmo, Pilar Gomez-Garre, Pablo Mir, Ned Jenkinson, Binith Cheeran, Peter Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in learning, memory, and brain plasticity. Humans with a val66met polymorphism in the BDNF gene have reduced levels of BDNF and alterations in motor learning and short-term cortical plasticity. In the current study, we sought to further explore the role of BDNF in motor learning by testing human subjects on a visuomotor adaptation task. In experiment 1, 21 subjects with the polymorphism (val/met) and 21 matched controls (val/val) were tested during learning, short-term retention (45 min), long-term retention (24 h), and de-adaptation of a 60° visuomotor deviation. We measured both mean error as well as rate of adaptation during each session. There was no difference in mean error between groups; however, val/met subjects had a reduced rate of adaptation during learning as well as during long-term retention, but not short-term retention or de-adaptation. In experiment 2, 12 val/met and 12 val/val subjects were tested on a larger 80° deviation, revealing a more pronounced difference in mean error during adaptation than the 60° deviation. These results suggest that BDNF may play an important role in visuomotor adaptive processes in the human.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-50
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Young Adult
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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