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J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2003 Oct;23(5):429-34.

Catechol-O-methyltransferase and monoamine oxidase A genotypes and drug response to conventional neuroleptics in schizophrenia.

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Department of Psychiatry, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.


Biogenic amine synthesis and degradation are involved in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. Catechol-O-methyltransferase and monoamine oxidase enzymes are important agents in the metabolic inactivation of these neurotransmitters (ie, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine). Functional polymorphism in the catechol-O-methyltransferase and monoamine oxidase A genes causes variation in enzyme activities. We investigated the relationship of catechol-O-methyltransferase Val158Met and monoamine oxidase A promoter repeat polymorphism with response to conventional neuroleptic treatment in schizophrenia.Ninety-four schizophrenic patients formed 2 different study populations. The responders had experienced a fair and steady response to conventional neuroleptics. The nonresponders had failed to achieve an acceptable response to conventional neuroleptics. We also used a control population of 94 age-matched and gender-matched blood donors. Genotyping of the catechol-O-methyltransferase and monoamine oxidase A genes was performed by polymerase chain reaction.Forty-three percent of the nonresponders had a low activity catechol-O-methyltransferase genotype compared with 16% of the responders (P = 0.009). Monoamine oxidase A genotype alone did not differ significantly between the groups. Moreover, the risk of having both low-activity catechol-O-methyltransferase and monoamine oxidase A genotypes was over 6 times more common (odds ratio = 6.16, P = 0.03) in the nonresponders compared with responders. The whole population of patients with schizophrenia did not differ from the controls.The low-activity catechol-O-methyltransferase genotype may be associated with unsatisfactory drug response to conventional neuroleptics or alternatively be involved in a subset of schizophrenics. The role of monoamine oxidase A genotype seems to be additive in this respect.

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