Polymorphisms in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene influence plasma total homocysteine levels.
ABSTRACT Elevated plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) is a risk factor for various disorders. We investigated whether functional polymorphisms in catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) influence tHcy, since COMT activity produces S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH), a homocysteine precursor. We hypothesized that high activity COMT variants would be associated with high tHcy, since they presumably result in increased formation of SAH. We genotyped 780 community-dwelling elderly individuals for functional COMT (Val(158)Met and A(-287)G) and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR; C(677)T) polymorphisms, and measured plasma tHcy. As predicted, COMT Val(158) carriers had significantly higher tHcy than Met(158) homozygotes. The effect was limited to individuals homozygous for the MTHFR T(677) allele. In addition, individuals homozygous for the COMT G(-287) allele tended to have lower tHcy levels. High activity variants of COMT interact with the low activity variant of MTHFR to increase tHcy levels. The effect on tHcy may contribute to the reported associations of COMT genotype with psychiatric and neurobiological phenotypes. The results also indicate that COMT activity may influence a broader range of biochemical pathways than hitherto appreciated.
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ABSTRACT: Maternal tea consumption was reported to increase the risk of fetal neural tube defects (NTDs). Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) may be involved in the metabolism of polyphenolic methylation of tea, thus influence the risk of fetal NTDs. A total of 576 fetuses or newborns with NTDs and 594 healthy newborns were included in the case-control study. Information on maternal tea consumption, sociodemographic characteristics, reproductive history, and related behavior was collected through face-to-face interviews. Maternal blood samples were collected to examine polymorphisms in COMT, and the possible interaction of COMT and tea consumption was analyzed. After controlling for potential confounders, homozygotes of rs737865 showed an elevated risk for total NTDs (odds ratio [OR] = 2.04, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.24-3.35) and for the anencephaly subtype (OR = 1.99, 95% CI, 1.17-3.39). The CC genotype of rs4633 was positively associated with the overall risk of NTDs (OR = 3.66, 95% CI, 1.05-12.83). Heterozygotes for rs4680 were associated with a decreased risk of spina bifida (OR = 0.71, 95% CI, 0.51-0.98). The COMT rs4680 A allele was negatively related with the risk of spina bifida, with adjusted OR = 0.64 (95% CI, 0.45-0.89). An interaction between tea consumption (1 to 2 cups/day) and the rs4680AA/AG genotype was found in the spina bifida subtype (Pinteraction = .08). Several COMT variants were associated with elevated risk of NTDs in a Chinese population. Maternal tea consumption may be associated with an increased risk for fetal NTDs in genetically susceptible subgroups. Birth Defects Research (Part A), 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.Birth Defects Research Part A Clinical and Molecular Teratology 12/2013; · 2.27 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In general, the presence of metabolic syndrome is associated with significant cardiovascular mortality and represents a growing public health concern in the USA. Patients with schizophrenia have a three times greater risk of death than the general population, with cardiovascular disease being the most common cause of this mortality. Use of atypical antipsychotics (AAPs) to treat schizophrenia contributes significantly to this cardiovascular risk. While several different clinical guidelines currently exist to monitor the metabolic consequences of AAP use, implementation is lacking. Because of under-monitoring of side effects and the lack of alternative treatment choices in schizophrenia, research has focused on identification of various biomarkers and pharmacogenomic targets to focus on the patients at greatest risk of metabolic syndrome, thus aiming to increase the efficacy and minimize the side effects of AAPs. This has led to several different lines of research. This review focuses on summarizing the differing metabolic syndrome criteria, monitoring guidelines for use of AAPs, and the role of folic acid as it relates to metabolic syndrome within the schizophrenia population. It concentrates not only on the pharmacogenomics of folic acid metabolism but also on its epigenetic interaction with the environment. From this work, genetic variation within both the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene and the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene has been associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome in schizophrenia patients treated with AAPs. Furthermore, work on the combination of folate pharmacogenetics and epigenetics has uncovered relationships between methylation, schizophrenia disease, treatment type, and metabolic syndrome. Despite several areas of biomarker research into schizophrenia-related metabolic syndrome, translation into the clinical setting is still lacking, and further studies are needed to bridge this gap. In the future, folate supplementation may prove to be an easy and effective clinical tool for prevention and/or treatment of metabolic syndrome associated with AAP treatment, but clearly more research needs to be done in this area.Molecular diagnosis & therapy 01/2013; · 1.69 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) enzyme has been widely studied due to its multiple roles in neurological functioning, estrogen biology, and methylation metabolic pathways. Numerous studies have investigated variation in the large COMT gene, with the majority focusing on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). This body of work has linked COMT genetic variation with a vast array of conditions, including several neurobehavioral disorders, pain sensitivity, and multiple human cancers. Based on COMT's numerous biological roles and recent studies suggesting that methylation of the COMT gene impacts COMT gene expression, we comprehensively interrogated methylation in over 200 CpG dinucleotide sequences spanning the length of the COMT gene. Using saliva-derived DNA from a non-clinical sample of human subjects, we tested for associations between COMT CpG methylation and factors reported to interact with COMT genetic effects, including demographic factors and alcohol use. Finally, we tested associations between COMT CpG methylation state and COMT gene expression in breast cancer cell lines. We interrogated >200 CpGs in 13 amplicons spanning the 5' UTR to the last exon of the CpG dinucleotide-rich COMT gene in n = 48 subjects, n = 11 cell lines and 1 endogenous 18S rRNA control. With the exception of the CpG island in the 5'UTR and 1st exon, all other CpG islands were strongly methylated with typical dynamic ranges between 50-90%. In the saliva samples, methylation of multiple COMT loci was associated with socioeconomic status or ethnicity. We found associations between methylation at numerous loci and genotype at the functional Val158Met SNP (rs4680), and most of the correlations between methylation and demographic and alcohol use factors were Val158Met allele-specific. Methylation at several of these loci also associated with COMT gene expression in breast cancer cell lines. We report the first comprehensive interrogation of COMT methylation. We corroborate previous findings of variation in COMT methylation with gene expression and the Val158Met genotype, and also report novel associations with socioeconomic status (SES) and ethnicity at several methylated loci. These results point to novel mechanisms for COMT regulation, which may have broad therapeutic implications.BMC Medical Genomics 01/2014; 7(1):5. · 3.47 Impact Factor