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Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2010 Jan 5;153B(1):167-76. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.b.30971.

The role of the COMT Val(158)Met polymorphism in the phenotypic expression of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by the presence of obsessions and compulsions, and shows considerable phenotypic variability. Family and twin studies have indicated a genetic component in the etiology of OCD, and the catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT) gene is an important candidate gene for OCD. This study investigates the influence of the functional COMT Val158Met polymorphism on the phenotypic expression of OCD, using an item-level factor-analytic approach in a large sample. The COMT Val158Met variant was genotyped in 373 patients and 462 controls. It was tested whether there was an association between the COMT Val158Met polymorphism and OCD or dimensional phenotypes such as YBOCS severity score, age of onset of obsessive-compulsive symptoms and six symptom dimensions recently found in a large item-level factor-analytic study [Katerberg et al., submitted]. We further investigated possible sex-specific associations between the COMT Val158Met polymorphism and OCD or dimensional phenotypes. There was a trend for an association of the COMT 158Met allele with OCD in males, and an interaction between the COMT Val158Met genotype and sex on the somatic and sensory phenomena symptom dimension, with females showing lower scores. In conclusion, a dimensional approach seems fruitful in detecting genes of importance for OCD.

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