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Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Apr 1;61(7):845-53. Epub 2006 Nov 22.

Effect of schizotypy on cognitive performance and its tuning by COMT val158 met genotype variations in a large population of young men.

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University Mental Health Research Institute, Psychiatry Department, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Eginition Hospital, Athens, Greece.



Mirroring schizophrenia, specific dimensions of schizotypy are related to cognitive dysfunction. The relation of schizotypy and state psychopathology to cognitive performance and its link to catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) val(158) met genotype variations was studied in a large sample of young men.


State psychopathology and schizotypy were assessed with self-rated questionnaires. Cognitive performance was assessed with tests of reasoning ability, sustained attention, and verbal and spatial working memory. Subjects were genotyped for the val(158) met polymorphism of the gene for COMT (low enzymatic activity met/met, intermediate met/val, and high val/val).


The val/val group had higher scores in measures of state psychopathology as well as negative and disorganized schizotypy dimensions, whereas there was no effect of COMT genotype on cognitive performance measures. Structural equation modeling showed that cognitive performance accuracy but not speed decreased with increasing negative schizotypy, increased with increasing paranoid schizotypy, and was not affected by state psychopathology. Increasing val loading resulted in a dose-dependent increase in the factor loading for the relation between negative schizotypy and cognitive performance accuracy.


Different schizotypal phenotypes had opposing relations to cognitive performance in the population. COMT genotype modulated the relation between the negative schizotypal phenotype and cognitive performance.

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