Val/Met Polymorphism of the COMT Gene Moderates the Association Between Job Strain and Early Atherosclerosis in Young Men

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Abstract

Objective:

Several studies support job strain as a risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD) but null findings also exist. Individual differences in innate stress vulnerability might in part explain the mixed findings. COMT gene influences dopamine transmission and dopaminergic activity might moderate effects of stress on CHD risk. We examine whether COMT Val158Met polymorphism moderates the association between job strain and atherosclerosis.

Methods:

Participants (mean age 32.5) were 347 women and 353 men from the population-based Young Finns study. Preclinical atherosclerosis was measured using carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) ultrasound.

Results:

COMT polymorphism moderated the job strain—IMT association in men. Job strain was associated with higher IMT in Val/Val carriers but not among others.

Conclusions:

Our findings support a general model in which the interaction between genotype and job strain is assumed to predispose to increased atherosclerotic processes.

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