Association between Catechol-O-Methyltrasferase Val108-158Met Genotype and Prefrontal Hemodynamic Response in SchizophreniaReport as inadecuate

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-Imaging genetics- studies have shown that brain function by neuroimaging is a sensitive intermediate phenotype that bridges the gap between genes and psychiatric conditions. Although the evidence of association between functional val108-158met polymorphism of the catechol-O-methyltransferase gene COMT and increasing risk for developing schizophrenia from genetic association studies remains to be elucidated, one of the most topical findings from imaging genetics studies is the association between COMT genotype and prefrontal function in schizophrenia. The next important step in the translational approach is to establish a useful neuroimaging tool in clinical settings that is sensitive to COMT variation, so that the clinician could use the index to predict clinical response such as improvement in cognitive dysfunction by medication. Here, we investigated spatiotemporal characteristics of the association between prefrontal hemodynamic activation and the COMT genotype using a noninvasive neuroimaging technique, near-infrared spectroscopy NIRS.

Methodology-Principal Findings

Study participants included 45 patients with schizophrenia and 60 healthy controls matched for age and gender. Signals that are assumed to reflect regional cerebral blood volume were monitored over prefrontal regions from 52-channel NIRS and compared between two COMT genotype subgroups Met carriers and Val-Val individuals matched for age, gender, premorbid IQ, and task performance. The oxy-Hb increase in the Met carriers during the verbal fluency task was significantly greater than that in the Val-Val individuals in the frontopolar prefrontal cortex of patients with schizophrenia, although neither medication nor clinical symptoms differed significantly between the two subgroups. These differences were not found to be significant in healthy controls.


These data suggest that the prefrontal NIRS signals can noninvasively detect the impact of COMT variation in patients with schizophrenia. NIRS may be a promising candidate translational approach in psychiatric neuroimaging.

Author: Ryu Takizawa , Mamoru Tochigi, Yuki Kawakubo, Kohei Marumo, Tsukasa Sasaki, Masato Fukuda, Kiyoto Kasai



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