Association of functional catechol O-methyl transferase (COMT) Val108Met polymorphism with smoking severity and age of smoking initiation in Chinese male smokers.

Institute of Mental Health, Peking University, Beijing, 100083, China.
Psychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 4.06). 04/2007; 190(4):449-56. DOI: 10.1007/s00213-006-0628-4
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is an enzyme involved in the degradation and inactivation of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is important in mediating drug reward such as nicotine in tobacco smoke. Different COMT alleles encode enzyme whose activity varies from three- to fourfold that may affect dopamine levels and alter subjective effects of nicotine. Recent evidence also suggests that a COMT polymorphism may be especially important in determining an individual's predisposition to developing nicotine dependence.
We studied the COMT Val108Met polymorphism in a male population of 203 current smokers, 66 former smokers, and 102 non-smokers. The age-adjusted odds ratios were estimated by multiple logistic regression models.
The results showed no significant association of the COMT Val108Met with initiation, persistent smoking, or smoking cessation. However, current smokers with the Met allele had significantly higher Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence scores (7.5 +/- 2.1 vs 6.8 +/- 1.8, p = 0.018) and started smoking significantly earlier (18.4 +/- 4.9 vs 20.1 +/- 5.9 years, p = 0.036).
These results suggest that the COMT Val108Met polymorphism may not influence smoking status in a Chinese male population but may influence the age at which smoking started and smoking severity among smokers. However, the findings must be regarded as preliminary because of the relatively small sample size and marginal associations and should be replicated in a larger cohort.

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    ABSTRACT: 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.The Pharmacogenomics Journal advance online publication, 5 March 2013; doi:10.1038/tpj.2013.1.
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