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Behav Brain Funct. 2005 Oct 18;1:19.

COMT genetic variation confers risk for psychotic and affective disorders: a case control study.

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Harvard Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics, Boston, USA.



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).


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.


Our results support the view that COMT variation provides a weak general predisposition to neuropsychiatric disease including psychotic and affective disorders.

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