Interaction between catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val108/158Met and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val66Met polymorphisms in age at onset and clinical symptoms in schizophrenia

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Abstract

Summary.

Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene is one of the candidate genes for schizophrenia because it codes an enzyme that participates in the metabolic inactivation of dopamine and noradrenaline and a limiting factor of dopamine metabolism in the prefrontal cortex. COMT gene lies on chromosome 22q11.2, which has been associated with schizophrenia susceptibility. A single-nucleotide polymorphism of COMT gene at position 108/158 results in an amino acid substitution from valine (val) to methionine (met), which modifies its enzymatic activity and may change the brain morphology and expressional behaviors. On the other hand, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays a critical role in the development of mesolimbic dopaminergic- related systems. BDNF also contains a functional single-nucleotide polymorphism at codon 66 (Val66Met) of its prodomain and this polymorphism is responsible for schizophrenia susceptibility. In this study, we first investigated the relationship between COMT Val108/158Met polymorphism and age at onset as well as levels of clinical symptoms in 158 of chronic schizophrenia inpatients and then we investigated the gene-by-gene interaction between COMT Val108/158Met polymorphism and BDNF Val66Met polymorphism with age- and sex-matched control subjects (n = 318). We concluded that the COMT Val108/158Met polymorphism was not related to either the onset at age or the levels of clinical symptoms after long-term antipsychotic treatment in schizophrenia.

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