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Tolcapone-Enhanced Neurocognition in Healthy Adults: Neural Basis and Predictors.

  • Author(s): Bhakta, Savita G
  • Light, Gregory A
  • Talledo, Jo A
  • Balvaneda, Bryan
  • Hughes, Erica
  • Alvarez, Alexis
  • Rana, Brinda K
  • Young, Jared W
  • Swerdlow, Neal R
  • et al.
Abstract

Background:Failure of procognitive drug trials in schizophrenia may reflect the clinical heterogeneity of schizophrenia, underscoring the need to identify biomarkers of treatment sensitivity. We used an experimental medicine design to test the procognitive effects of a putative procognitive agent, tolcapone, using an electroencephalogram-based cognitive control task in healthy subjects. Methods:Healthy men and women (n=27; ages 18-35 years), homozygous for either the Met/Met or Val/Val rs4680 genotype, received placebo and tolcapone 200 mg orally across 2 test days separated by 1 week in a double-blind, randomized, counterbalanced, within-subject design. On each test day, neurocognitive performance was assessed using the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery and an electroencephalogram-based 5 Choice-Continuous Performance Test. Results:Tolcapone enhanced visual learning in low-baseline MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery performers (d=0.35) and had an opposite effect in high performers (d=0.5), and enhanced verbal fluency across all subjects (P=.03) but had no effect on overall MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery performance. Tolcapone reduced false alarm rate (d=0.8) and enhanced frontal P200 amplitude during correctly identified nontarget trials (d=0.6) in low-baseline 5 Choice-Continuous Performance Test performers and had opposite effects in high performers (d=0.5 and d=0.25, respectively). Tolcapone's effect on frontal P200 amplitude and false alarm rate was correlated (rs=-0.4, P=.05). All neurocognitive effects of tolcapone were independent of rs4680 genotype. Conclusion:Tolcapone enhanced neurocognition and engaged electroencephalogram measures relevant to cognitive processes in specific subgroups of healthy individuals. These findings support an experimental medicine model for identifying procognitive treatments and provide a strong basis for future biomarker-informed procognitive studies in schizophrenia patients.

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