Publications by authors named "Denise J van der Mee"

2 Publications

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Cortical thickness and resting-state cardiac function across the lifespan: A cross-sectional pooled mega-analysis.

Psychophysiology 2020 Oct 10. Epub 2020 Oct 10.

Norwegian Centre for Mental Disorders Research (NORMENT), Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.

Understanding the association between autonomic nervous system [ANS] function and brain morphology across the lifespan provides important insights into neurovisceral mechanisms underlying health and disease. Resting-state ANS activity, indexed by measures of heart rate [HR] and its variability [HRV] has been associated with brain morphology, particularly cortical thickness [CT]. While findings have been mixed regarding the anatomical distribution and direction of the associations, these inconsistencies may be due to sex and age differences in HR/HRV and CT. Previous studies have been limited by small sample sizes, which impede the assessment of sex differences and aging effects on the association between ANS function and CT. To overcome these limitations, 20 groups worldwide contributed data collected under similar protocols of CT assessment and HR/HRV recording to be pooled in a mega-analysis (N = 1,218 (50.5% female), mean age 36.7 years (range: 12-87)). Findings suggest a decline in HRV as well as CT with increasing age. CT, particularly in the orbitofrontal cortex, explained additional variance in HRV, beyond the effects of aging. This pattern of results may suggest that the decline in HRV with increasing age is related to a decline in orbitofrontal CT. These effects were independent of sex and specific to HRV; with no significant association between CT and HR. Greater CT across the adult lifespan may be vital for the maintenance of healthy cardiac regulation via the ANS-or greater cardiac vagal activity as indirectly reflected in HRV may slow brain atrophy. Findings reveal an important association between CT and cardiac parasympathetic activity with implications for healthy aging and longevity that should be studied further in longitudinal research.
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October 2020

Dopaminergic Genetic Variants and Voluntary Externally Paced Exercise Behavior.

Med Sci Sports Exerc 2018 04;50(4):700-708

Department of Biological Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS.

Purpose: Most candidate gene studies on the neurobiology of voluntary exercise behavior have focused on the dopaminergic signaling pathway and its role in the mesolimbic reward system. We hypothesized that dopaminergic candidate genes may influence exercise behavior through additional effects on executive functioning and that these effects are only detected when the types of exercise activity are taken into account.

Methods: Data on voluntary exercise behavior and at least one single-nucleotide polymorphism/variable number of tandem repeat (VNTR) were available for 12,929 participants of the Netherlands Twin Registry. Exercise activity was classified as externally paced if a high level of executive function skill was required. The total volume of voluntary exercise (minutes per week) as well as the volume specifically spent on externally paced activities were tested for association with nine functional dopaminergic polymorphisms (DRD1: rs265981, DRD2/ANKK1: rs1800497, DRD3: rs6280, DRD4: VNTR 48 bp, DRD5: VNTR 130-166 bp, DBH: rs2519152, DAT1: VNTR 40 bp, COMT: rs4680, MAOA: VNTR 30 bp), a polygenic score (PGS) based on nine alleles leading to lower dopamine responsiveness, and a PGS based on three alleles associated with both higher reward sensitivity and better executive functioning (DRD2/ANKK1: "G" allele, COMT: Met allele, DAT1: 440-bp allele).

Results: No association with total exercise volume or externally paced exercise volume was found for individual alleles or the nine-allele PGS. The volume of externally paced exercise behavior was significantly associated with the reward and executive function congruent PGS. This association was driven by the DAT1 440-bp and COMT Met allele, which acted as increaser alleles for externally paced exercise behavior.

Conclusions: Taking into account the types of exercise activity may increase the success of identifying genetic variants and unraveling the neurobiology of voluntary exercise behavior.
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April 2018