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Psychiatr Genet. 1999 Sep;9(3):135-8.

Association study between high and low activity polymorphism of catechol-O-methyltransferase gene and alcoholism.

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Department of Medical Genetics, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.


Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is a key modulator of dopaminergic and noradrenergic neurotransmission. There is a functional polymorphism of the COMT gene, Val108Met in the soluble form of the enzyme (Val158Met in the membrane-bound form). Involvement of the dopaminergic systems in alcoholism has been suggested in mice and humans. We examined associations between this polymorphism and alcoholism in 175 Japanese alcoholics and 354 age- and gender-matched Japanese controls. No significant difference in the allelic distributions in alcoholics and controls and no significant associations between antisocial behaviors in alcoholics and this polymorphism were observed. Therefore, the COMT gene is not likely to play a significant role in alcoholism.

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