October 30, 2006

COMT Gene Variant May Contribute to Manic Symptoms

The catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene is involved in both the metabolism of dopamine as well as norepinephrine.

New research shows that this gene may be associated with an increased risk for the co-existing symptom of mania in schizophrenia.

Through its regulation of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, the COMT genotype may modify the clinical presentation of schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder by influencing the severity of manic symptoms. This would be consistent with an existing noradrenergic model of mania.

Read the full story: Manic symptoms provide clue to COMT and schizophrenia relationship

Further reading about the association of the COMT gene and psychiatric illnesses:

Gene Slows Frontal Lobes, Boosts Schizophrenia Risk

Genetic Mutations Cause Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia Risk Tied to Genes Revealed by Brain Scans

COMT gene Research

Cannabis and Psychosis (schizophrenia) and the COMT gene

COMT: A common susceptibility gene in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia
Association Between Catechol-O-Methyltransferase and Phobic Anxiety
Hoarding in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Clinical and Genetic Correlates


How can I tell with any degree of certainty whether or not I am met/met? I have excessive dopamine even in comparison to other schizophrenics/
schizoaffectives who hear nearly constant voices in Broca's and Wernicke's and the mirror image of one or both of those brain regions. I hear nearly constant voices and nonverbals. I understand that the IRB does not allow any genetic information to be released.

Thank you,

Posted by: Laurie at November 7, 2006 01:34 PM

medication can help you control those noises and voices.

schizophrenics don't have an 'excess' of dopamine, rather, some brain cells seem to be too sensitive to it, or there is too much activity of dopamine on those cells. at the same time, other brain cells don't get ENOUGH dopamine activity, many studies indicate that the listlessness and lack of interest of negative symptoms, is due to a LACK of dopamine activity on other brain cells.

and now, one study has shown that at least some schizophrenics seem to have their dopamine activity abruptly stop on some nerves (that might explain thought blocking, or suddenly having a thought stop or disappear).

dopamine isn't in excess, it's that its activity isn't being regulated properly. that was the basic idea behind abilify, that it can let dopamine activity go up where it's not active enough, and bring it down where it's too active. the reason abilify doesn't work for everyone is that it has a fairly set point it brings activity up or down to - we need more medications like abilify, but that have different levels of activity, since some people's nerve cells are more sensitive and some are less sensitive.

Posted by: slc2 at November 9, 2006 06:59 AM

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