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Association of the G1947A COMT (Val108/158Met) gene polymorphism with prefrontal P300 during information processing
Background: A common functional polymorphism G1947A of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) enzyme has gained interest in schizophrenia research because of its critically involvement in dopamine catabolism and frontal lobe function. An assumed mechanism of dopamine is the reduction of noise in prefrontal neural networks during information processing. The hypothesis was tested whether a variation of the COMT genotype is associated with prefrontal noise, which is in part reflected by the frontal P300-amplitude. Methods: The P300-component (auditory oddball) was recorded in 49 schizophrenic patients and 170 healthy controls. Three single nucleotide polymorphisms of the COMT gene were investigated. Results and Conclusion: We observed a significant effect of G1947A COMT genotype on frontal P300-amplitude with evidence for a genotype*diagnosis interaction. Lower frontal P300-amplitudes occurred in homozygous carriers of the Met allele in schizophrenic patients. This suggests that the amount of noise in prefrontal neural networks during information processing might be in part under genetic control, which is mediated by dopamine.