Human catechol-O-methyltransferase pharmacogenetics: Description of a functional polymorphism and its potential application to neuropsychiatric disorders
ABSTRACT Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inactivates catecholamines and catechol drugs such as L-DOPA. A common genetic polymorphism in humans is associated with a three-to-four-fold variation in COMT enzyme activity and is also associated with individual variation in COMT thermal instability. We now show that this is due to G-->A transition at codon 158 of the COMT gene that results in a valine to methionine substitution. The two alleles can be identified with a PCR-based restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis using the restriction enzyme Nla III. The identification of a gentic marker associated with significant alterations in enzyme activity will facilitate the analysis of a possible role for the COMT gene in neuropsychiatric conditions in which abnormalities in catecholamine neurotransmission are believed to occur, including mood disorders, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, alcohol and substance abuse, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In addition, this polymorphism may have pharmacogenetic significance in that it will help make it possible to identify patients who display altered metabolism of catechol drugs.
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ABSTRACT: The catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val(158)Met polymorphism impacts cortical dopamine (DA) levels and may influence cortical electrical activity in the human brain. This study investigated whether COMT genotype influences resting-state electroencephalogram (EEG) power in the frontal, parietal and midline regions in healthy volunteers. EEG recordings were conducted in the resting-state in 13 postmenopausal healthy woman carriers of the Val/Val genotype and 11 with the Met/Met genotype. The resting EEG spectral absolute power in the frontal (F3, F4, F7, F8, FC3 and FC4), parietal (CP3, CP4, P3 and P4) and midline (Fz, FCz, Cz, CPz, Pz and Oz) was analyzed during the eyes-open and eyes-closed conditions. The frequency bands considered were the delta, theta, alpha1, alpha2, beta1 and beta2. EEG data of the Val/Val and Met/Met genotypes, brain regions and conditions were analyzed using a general linear model analysis. In the individuals with the Met/Met genotype, delta activity was increased in the eyes-closed condition, theta activity was increased in the eyes-closed and in the eyes-open conditions, and alpha1 band, alpha2 band and beta1band activity was increased in the eyes-closed condition. A significant interaction between COMT genotypes and spectral bands was observed. Met homozygote individuals exhibited more delta, theta and beta1 activity than individuals with the Val/Val genotype. No significant interaction between COMT genotypes and the resting-state EEG regional power and conditions were observed for the three brain regions studied. Our findings indicate that the COMT Val(158)Met polymorphism does not directly impact resting-state EEG regional power, but instead suggest that COMT genotype can modulate resting-state EEG spectral power in postmenopausal healthy women.Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 01/2015; 9:136. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2015.00136 · 2.90 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Schizotypy provides a useful construct for understanding the development of schizophrenia spectrum disorders. As research on the epidemiology of psychotic symptoms and clinical risk for psychosis has expanded, conceptual challenges have emerged to comprehend the nature and borders of the space comprised between personality variation and psychosis. Schizotypy is considered in light of these more recent constructs. It is suggested that rather than being superseded by them due to their higher specificity and predictive power for transition to psychosis, schizotypy integrates them as it constitutes a dynamic continuum ranging from personality to psychosis. The advantages of schizotypy for studying schizophrenia etiology are discussed (eg, it facilitates a developmental approach and the identification of causal, resilience, and compensating factors and offers a multidimensional structure that captures etiological heterogeneity). An overview of putative genetic, biological, and psychosocial risk factors is presented, focusing on communalities and differences between schizotypy and schizophrenia spectrum disorders. The found notable overlap supports etiological continuity, and, simultaneously, differential findings appear that are critical to understanding resilience to schizophrenia. For example, discrepant findings in genetic studies might be interpreted as suggestive of sets of independent genetic factors playing a differential role in schizotypy and schizophrenia: some would influence variation specifically on schizotypy dimensions (ie, high vs low schizotypy, thereby increasing proneness to psychosis), some would confer unspecific liability to disease by impacting neural properties and susceptibility to environmental factors (ie, high vs low resilience to disorder) and some might contribute to disease-specific characteristics. Finally, schizotypy's promise for studying gene-environment interactions is considered. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center.Schizophrenia Bulletin 03/2015; 41 Suppl 2:S408-16. DOI:10.1093/schbul/sbu191 · 8.61 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: It is suggested that genetic variations explain a significant portion of the variability in pain perception; therefore, increased understanding of pain-related genetic influences may identify new targets for therapies and treatments. The relative contribution of the different genes to the variance in clinical and experimental pain responses remains unknown. It is suggested that the genetic contributions to pain perception vary across pain modalities. For example, it has been suggested that more than 60% of the variance in cold pressor responses can be explained by genetic factors; in comparison, only 26% of the variance in heat pain responses is explained by these variations. Thus, the selection of pain model might markedly influence the magnitude of the association between the pain phenotype and genetic variability. Thermal pain sensation is complex with multiple molecular and cellular mechanisms operating alone and in combination within the peripheral and central nervous system. It is thus highly probable that the thermal pain experience is affected by genetic variants in one or more of the pathways involved in the thermal pain signaling. This review aims to present and discuss some of the genetic variations that have previously been associated with different experimental thermal pain models.BioMed Research International 2015:349584. DOI:10.1155/2015/349584 · 2.71 Impact Factor