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Pharmacogenomics. 2009 Apr;10(4):669-84. doi: 10.2217/pgs.09.13.

Variation in the COMT gene: implications for pain perception and pain treatment.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine Children's & Women's Health, Laboratory Centre, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science & Technology (NTNU), N-7489 Trondheim, Norway.


Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is an enzyme that inactivates biologically-active catechols, including the important neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and adrenaline. These neurotransmitters are involved in numerous physiological processes, including modulation of pain. Genetic variation in the COMT gene has been implicated in variable response to various experimental painful stimuli, variable susceptibility to develop common pain conditions, as well as the variable need for opioids in the treatment of cancer pain. Increased insight into how genetic variants within the COMT locus affect pain perception will contribute to improved understanding of the mechanisms involved in the development of common human pain disorders and may lead to improved strategies for pain treatment. So far, a remarkable complex relationship between COMT genotypes or haplotypes and pain phenotypes has been revealed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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