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Dietary and serum tyrosine, white matter microstructure and inter-individual variability in executive functions in overweight adults: Relation to sex/gender and age

MPS-Authors

Brecht,  A.-K.
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Medawar,  Evelyn
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Thieleking,  Ronja
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Sacher,  Julia
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Beyer,  Frauke
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Villringer,  Arno
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Witte,  A. Veronica
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Citation

Brecht, A.-K., Medawar, E., Thieleking, R., Sacher, J., Beyer, F., Villringer, A., et al. (2022). Dietary and serum tyrosine, white matter microstructure and inter-individual variability in executive functions in overweight adults: Relation to sex/gender and age. Appetite, 106093. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2022.106093.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-A75A-5
Abstract
Tyrosine (tyr), the precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine, is known to modulate cognitive functions including executive attention. Tyr supplementation is suggested to influence dopamine-modulated cognitive performance. However, results are inconclusive regarding the presence or strength and also the direction of the association between tyr and cognitive function. This pre-registered cross-sectional analysis investigates whether diet-associated serum tyr relates to executive attention performance, and whether this relationship is moderated by differences in white matter microstructure. 59 healthy, overweight, young to middle-aged adults (20 female, 28.3 ± 6.6 years, BMI: 27.3 ± 1.5 kg/m2) drawn from a longitudinal study reported dietary habits, donated blood and completed diffusion-weighted brain magnetic resonance imaging and the attention network test. Main analyses were performed using linear regressions and non-parametric voxel-wise inference testing. Confirmatory analyses did neither support an association between dietary and serum tyr nor a relationship between relative serum tyr/large neutral amino acids (LNAA) levels or white matter microstructure and executive attention performance. However, exploratory analyses revealed higher tyr intake, higher serum tyr and better executive attention performance in the male sex/gender group. In addition, older age was associated with higher dietary tyr intake and lower fractional anisotropy in a widespread cluster across the brain. Finally, a positive association between relative serum tyr/LNAA and executive attention performance was found in the male sex/gender group when accounting for age effects. Our analysis advances the field of dopamine-modulated cognitive functions by revealing sex/gender and age differences which might be diet-related. Longitudinal or intervention studies and larger sample sizes are needed to provide more reliable evidence for links between tyr and executive attention.