COMT genetic variation confers risk for psychotic and affective disorders: a case control study.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Variation in the COMT gene has been implicated in a number of psychiatric disorders, including psychotic, affective and anxiety disorders. The majority of these studies have focused on the functional Val108/158Met polymorphism and yielded conflicting results, with limited studies examining the relationship between other polymorphisms, or haplotypes, and psychiatric illness. We hypothesized that COMT variation may confer a general risk for psychiatric disorders and have genotyped four COMT variants (Val158Met, rs737865, rs165599, and a SNP in the P2 promoter [-278A/G; rs2097603]) in 394 Caucasian cases and 467 controls. Cases included patients with schizophrenia (n = 196), schizoaffective disorder (n = 62), bipolar disorder (n = 82), major depression (n = 30), and patients diagnosed with either psychotic disorder NOS or depressive disorder NOS (n = 24). RESULTS:SNP rs2097603, the Val/Met variant and SNP rs165599 were significantly associated (p = 0.004; p = 0.05; p = 0.035) with a broad "all affected" diagnosis. Haplotype analysis revealed a potentially protective G-A-A-A haplotype haplotype (-278A/G; rs737865; Val108/158Met; rs165599), which was significantly underrepresented in this group (p = 0.0033) and contained the opposite alleles of the risk haplotype previously described by Shifman et al. Analysis of diagnostic subgroups within the "all affecteds group" showed an association of COMT in patients with psychotic disorders as well as in cases with affective illness although the associated variants differed. The protective haplotype remained significantly underrepresented in most of these subgroups. CONCLUSION:Our results support the view that COMT variation provides a weak general predisposition to neuropsychiatric disease including psychotic and affective disorders.
Project description:Dopaminergic brain systems have been documented to have a major role in drug reward, thus making genes involved in these circuits plausible candidates for susceptibility to substance use disorders. The catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is involved in the degradation of catecholamines and a functional polymorphism (Val158Met) has been suggested to influence enzyme activity. In this study we hypothesize that genetic variation in the COMT gene contributes to increased risk for cocaine dependence. Cocaine-dependent individuals (n=330) and screened unaffected normal controls (n=255) were genotyped for three SNPs in the COMT gene (rs737865, rs4680 (Val158Met), rs165599). All cases and controls were of African descent. Genotype and allele frequencies differed significantly for the Val158Met polymorphism between cases (f(Met)=35%) and controls (f(Met)=27%) (p=0.004; corrected p=0.014; OR 1.44; 95% CI 1.12-1.86). Haplotype analysis showed a significant association for a two-marker haplotype rs737865-Val158Met (p=0.005). Results suggest that variation in COMT increases risk for cocaine dependence. The low enzyme activity 158Met allele or haplotypes containing this variant might have functional effects on dopamine-derived reward processes and cortical functions resulting in increased susceptibility for cocaine dependence. Additional studies are required to elucidate the role of COMT in the pathophysiology of substance use disorders.
Project description:Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) val(108/158)met (rs4680) is thought to affect dopamine regulated prefrontal cortical activity during working memory (WM) tasks, and to weakly increase risk for developing schizophrenia. Recently, other single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the gene have emerged as additional risk factors for schizophrenia: namely rs737865, rs165599, and rs2097603. In a large sample, we examined whether these SNPs affect WM.Schizophrenic probands (n = 325), their nonpsychotic siblings (n = 359), and normal control subjects (n = 330) completed tests of WM function. Data were analyzed with a series of mixed model analyses of variance (ANOVAs).Val homozygotes performed most poorly on all conditions of the n-back, irrespective of diagnosis. Additionally, there was a trend towards a disease-only val(108/158)met effect on a test of attentional set-shifting; val homozygote probands performed most poorly. Significant or near-significant effects of rs737865 were found on all conditions of the n-back, with G homozygotes performing worst. There also was a disease-only COMT rs737865 effect on the 0-back. None of the other SNPs showed main effects by themselves. A haplotype constructed from promoter and val(108/158)met SNPs showed main effects on WM parameters, consistent with inverted U models of dopamine signaling.We extended earlier findings of a val(108/158)met effect on WM function, and suggest that combinations of alleles within COMT may modulate the val(108/158)met effect in a nonlinear manner.
Project description:The gene coding for catecol-o-methyltransferase (COMT), participant in the metabolism of catecholamines, has long been implicated as a candidate gene for schizophrenia. We determined the relation of the COMT Val108/158Met polymorphism with schizophrenia or its symptomatology (negative, disorganized and psychotic dimension). We conducted a case-control study comprising 186 patients with schizophrenia and 247 controls. The diagnosis of schizophrenia was established using the DSM-IV criteria for this illness. The clinical symptomatology was assessed through the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms and the Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms. No significant differences were found in the distribution of alleles (?2 = 0.01, df = 1, p = 0.90) or genotypes (?2 = 1.66, df = 2, p = 0.43) between schizophrenic patients and the control group. Multivariate analysis showed that the COMT Val108/158Met polymorphism has no influence in the clinical symptomatology of schizophrenia. Our results showed no association between COMT Val108/158Met and schizophrenia or evidence for an association between COMT and the clinical symptomatology of this illness. This suggests that the COMT gene may not contribute to the risk for schizophrenia among the Mexican population.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Cognitive impairment is a core feature of schizophrenia, related to dopaminergic dysfunction in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). It is hypothesized that functional single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs4680 of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene could mediate the relationship between cognition and dopamine activity in the PFC. Other COMT SNPs could also play a role. METHODS:We evaluated the role of three COMT SNPs (rs737865, rs165599, and rs4680) in schizophrenia and their impact on three working memory tasks. For genetic association analyses, 212 individuals with schizophrenia and 257 healthy controls (HCs) were selected. The Visual Working Memory (VWM) Task, Keep Track Task, and Letter Memory Task were administered to 133 schizophrenics and 93 HCs. RESULTS:We found a significant association of rs737865, with the GG genotype exerting a protective effect and the GA haplotype (rs4680/rs165599) exerting a risk effect for schizophrenia. COMT rs4680 AA carriers and rs737865 AA carriers scored lowest on the Keep Track Task. When the genotype*group interaction effect was evaluated, rs165599 exerted opposite effects for VWM and Keep Track task performance in patients and controls, with AA carriers scoring lowest on both tests among controls, but highest among patients. CONCLUSION:These data support the hypothesis that COMT polymorphisms may be associated with schizophrenia and modulate cognition in patients and controls.
Project description:BACKGROUND: There is a negative association between the use of antipsychotics and cognitive functioning in bipolar patients, which may be mediated by altered dopamine signaling in selected brain areas, and moderation thereof by genetic sequence variation such as COMT Val108/158Met. The interaction between antipsychotic drug use and the COMT Val108/158Met genotype on two-year cognitive functioning in bipolar patients was examined. METHODS: Interaction between the COMT Val108/158Met and antipsychotics on a composite cognitive measure was examined in 51 bipolar patients who were assessed 12 times at two-monthly intervals over a period of two years (379 observations). RESULTS: There was a significant negative effect of the interaction between antipsychotic medications and Val allele load on the composite cognitive measure in bipolar patients (p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The negative effects of antipsychotics on cognitive functioning in bipolar disorder may be moderated by the COMT Val 108/158 Met genotype, with a negative effect of Val allele load. If replicated, the results may be indicative of pharmacogenetic interactions in bipolar disorder.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Genetic variants that contribute to the risk of psychiatric disorders may also affect normal variation in psychological function. Indeed, the behavioral effects of many genetic variants may be better understood as process-specific rather than disease-specific. A functional valine-to-methionine (Val(158)Met) polymorphism in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene has been associated with cognitive function and brain metabolic activity accompanying such tasks. Not all studies are consistent, and less is known about the effect of this polymorphism during development. The authors tested the hypothesis that a more informative COMT haplotype predicts normal cognitive development in a large population-based cohort of children enrolled in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. METHOD:Effects on verbal and performance IQ as well as verbal inhibition were assessed at age 8, and effects on working memory were assessed at age 10. From the five COMT single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) genotyped, the effect of a functional three-SNP haplotype consisting of Val(158)Met and two synonymous SNPs (rs6269 and rs4818), which together exert a major influence on the level of COMT expression and enzyme activity, was evaluated. RESULTS:This three-SNP haplotype predicted both verbal inhibition and working memory, and there was a genotype-by-sex interaction on verbal IQ. The effect of COMT genotype (diplotype) on cognition was curvilinear, which is consistent with the "inverted U" model of dopamine effect on frontal cortical efficiency. In addition, the SNP rs2075507 (previously rs2097603) was independently associated with verbal inhibition, while rs165599 showed no main cognitive effects. However, rs165599 showed a genotype-by-sex interaction with working memory. CONCLUSIONS:Genetic variation at several loci in the COMT gene affects normal cognitive function in children.
Project description:The relationship between cognition and a functional polymorphism in the catechol-O-methlytransferase (COMT) gene, val108/158met, is one of debate in the literature. Furthermore, based on the dopaminergic differences associated with the COMT val108/158met genotype, neural differences during cognition may be present, regardless of genotypic differences in cognitive performance. To investigate these issues the current study aimed to 1) examine the effects of COMT genotype using a large sample of healthy individuals (n = 496-1218) and multiple cognitive measures, and using a subset of the sample (n = 22), 2) examine whether COMT genotype effects medial temporal lobe (MTL) and frontal activity during successful relational memory processing, and 3) investigate group differences in functional connectivity associated with successful relational memory processing. Results revealed no significant group difference in cognitive performance between COMT genotypes in any of the 19 cognitive measures. However, in the subset sample, COMT val homozygotes exhibited significantly decreased MTL and increased prefrontal activity during both successful relational encoding and retrieval, and reduced connectivity between these regions compared with met homozygotes. Taken together, the results suggest that although the COMT val108/158met genotype has no effect on cognitive behavioral measures in healthy individuals, it is associated with differences in neural process underlying cognitive output.
Project description:Genetic variation at the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene has been significantly associated with risk for various neuropsychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia, panic disorder, bipolar disorders, anorexia nervosa and others. It has also been associated with nicotine dependence, sensitivity to pain and cognitive dysfunctions especially in schizophrenia. The non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in exon 4--Val108/158Met--is the most studied SNP at COMT and is the basis for most associations. It is not, however, the only variation in the gene; several haplotypes exist across the gene. Some studies indicate that the haplotypic combinations of alleles at the Val108/158Met SNP with those in the promoter region and in the 3'-untranslated region are responsible for the associations with disorders and not the non-synonymous SNP by itself. We have now studied DNA samples from 45 populations for 63 SNPs in a region of 172 kb across the region of 22q11.2 encompassing the COMT gene. We focused on 28 SNPs spanning the COMT-coding region and immediately flanking DNA, and found that the haplotypes are from diverse evolutionary lineages that could harbor as yet undetected variants with functional consequences. Future association studies should be based on SNPs that define the common haplotypes in the population(s) being studied.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Executive control of attention in schizophrenia has recently been assessed by means of the Attention Network Test (ANT). In the past, for tasks assessing executive attention, findings in schizophrenia have been contradictory, among others suggesting a lack of increased stimulus interference effects. Attention and executive functioning are substantially influenced by candidate genes of schizophrenia, including the functional single-nucleotide polymorphism catechol-o-methyltransferase (COMT) Val108/158Met, with task-dependent, specific effects of Met allele load on cognitive function. Therefore, we aimed at investigating executive attention in schizophrenic patients (SZP) as compared with healthy controls (HC), and to assess the specific impact of COMT Val108/158Met on executive attention, using ANT. METHODS: We applied ANT to 63 SZP and 40 HC. We calculated a general linear model to investigate the influence of affection status and the COMT Val108/158Met genotype on executive attention as assessed by the ANT. RESULTS: Multivariate analysis of variance revealed a significant effect of group on executive attention. SZP exhibited smaller conflict effects in the ANT. Met allele load significantly modulated executive attention efficiency, with homozygous Met individuals showing low overall reaction time but increased effects conflicting stimulus information in executive attention. CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest a disease-related dissociation of executive attention with reduced conflict effects in SZP. Furthermore, they support the hypothesis of differential tonic-phasic dopamine activation and specific dopamine level effects in different cognitive tasks, which helps interpreting contradictory findings of Met allele load on cognitive performance. Disease status seems to modulate the impact of COMT Val108/158Met on cognitive performance.
Project description:Background:It is accepted that there is a genetic factor that influences the risk of suicidal behavior. The catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene, especially the Val108/158Met polymorphism, has been associated with suicide; however, no conclusive outcome has been attained. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to assess the role of COMT Val108/158Met in suicidal behavior throughout an updated meta-analysis. Methods:We performed an online search using PubMed and Web of Science (up to March 2017). Our systematic review included case-control studies of individuals who attempted suicide and completed suicide. We tested allelic, homozygous, heterozygous, dominant, and recessive inheritance models. The meta-analysis was performed in accordance with the statement of Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. Results:The meta-analysis comprised 17 studies, which included 3,282 cases and 3,774 controls, and showed that when evaluating the overall population, the Val108/158Met polymorphism of COMT was not associated with suicidal behavior in any of the inheritance models; however, the subanalyses showed that this polymorphism exhibits a risk factor in males and a protective effect in females. Additionally, it conveyed a risk factor in Asian populations when using the allelic (OR 1.25; CI: 1.04-1.51) and recessive models (OR 1.32; CI: 1.03-1.68). Conclusion:Our updated meta-analysis suggests a possible association between COMT Val108/158Met and suicidal behavior in Asian populations. However, in view of the small number of studies, these results should be considered exploratory. We recommend that more studies be performed with larger samples.