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Pharmacogenomics J. 2013 Dec;13(6):490-7. doi: 10.1038/tpj.2013.1. Epub 2013 Mar 5.

COMT Val158Met modulates subjective responses to intravenous nicotine and cognitive performance in abstinent smokers.

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Department of Psychiatry and VA Connecticut Healthcare System, Yale University, School of Medicine, West Haven, CT, USA.


The catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met polymorphism may be a risk factor for nicotine addiction. This study examined the influence of the COMT Val158Met polymorphism on subjective, physiological and cognitive effects of intravenous (IV) nicotine use in African Americans (AAs; n=56) and European Americans (EAs; n=68) smokers. Overnight abstinent smokers received saline followed by 0.5 and 1.0 mg per 70 kg doses of nicotine, administered 30 min apart. Smokers with valine (Val)/Val genotype, compared with methionine (Met) carriers, had greater negative subjective effects from IV nicotine and had more severe withdrawal severity following overnight abstinence from smoking. Women with Val/Val genotype reported greater difficulty concentrating and irritability than men with Val/Val or Met carrier genotypes. The Val/Val genotype was associated with better performance on the math task and in AA smokers it was associated with greater systolic blood pressure. These results support the rationale of pharmacologically inhibiting COMT to aid with smoking cessation among Val/Val genotype smokers.

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