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PLoS One. 2013 Apr 30;8(4):e62900. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062900. Print 2013.

The influence of the Val158Met catechol-O-methyltransferase polymorphism on the personality traits of bipolar patients.

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  • 1AMSA, Bilbao, Spain.



Certain personality traits and genetic polymorphisms are contributing factors to bipolar disorder and its symptomatology, and in turn, this syndrome influences personality. The aim of the present study is to compare the personality traits of euthymic bipolar patients with healthy controls and to investigate the effect of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met genotype on those traits. We recruited thirty seven bipolar I patients in euthymic state following a manic episode and thirty healthy controls and evaluated their personality by means of the Cloninger's Temperament and Character Inventory (version TCI-R-140). We assessed the influence of the polymorphism Val158Met in the COMT gene on the personality of these patients. The patients scored higher than controls in harm avoidance (61.3±12.5 vs. 55.3±8.1) and self-transcendence (45.3±12.8 vs. 32.7±8.2) and scored lower than controls in self-directedness (68.8±13.3 vs. 79.3±8.1), cooperativeness (77.1±9.1 vs. 83.9±6.5) and persistence (60.4±15.1 vs. 67.1±8.9). The novelty seeking dimension associates with the Val158Met COMT genotype; patients with the low catabolic activity genotype, Met/Met, show a higher score than those with the high catabolic activity genotype, Val/Val.


Suffering from bipolar disorder could have an impact on personality. A greater value in harm avoidance may be a genetic marker for a vulnerability to the development of a psychiatric disorder, but not bipolar disorder particularly, while a low value in persistence may characterize affective disorders or a subgroup of bipolar patients. The association between novelty seeking scores and COMT genotype may be linked with the role dopamine plays in the brain's reward circuits.

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