Interaction of COMT Val108/158 met genotype and olanzapine treatment on prefrontal cortical function in patients with schizophrenia

Alessandro Bertolino, Grazia Caforio, Giuseppe Blasi, Mariapia De Candia, Valeria Latorre, Vittoria Petruzzella, Mario Altamura, Gaetano Nappi, Sergio Papa, Joseph H. Callicott, Venkata Mattay, Antonello Bellomo, Tommaso Scarabino, Daniel R. Weinberger, Marcello Nardini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

271 Scopus citations


Objective: Deficits in working memory and in prefrontal cortical physiology are important outcome measures in schizophrenia, and both have been associated with dopamine dysregulation and with a functional polymorphism (Val 108/158Met) in the catechol O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene that affects dopamine inactivation in the prefrontal cortex. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate in patients with schizophrenia the effect of COMT genotype on symptom variation, working memory performance, and prefrontal cortical physiology in response to treatment with an atypical antipsychotic drug. Method: Thirty patients with acute untreated schizophrenia were clinically evaluated with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, underwent COMT Val/Met genotyping, and entered an 8-week prospective study of olanzapine treatment. Twenty patients completed two 3-T functional magnetic resonance imaging scans at 4 and 8 weeks during performance of N-back working memory tasks. Results: There was a significant interaction of COMT genotype and the effects of olanzapine on prefrontal cortical function. Met allele load predicted improvement in working memory performance and prefrontal physiology after 8 weeks of treatment. A similar effect was found also for negative symptoms assessed with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale. Conclusions: These results suggest that a genetically determined variation in prefrontal dopamine catabolism impacts the therapeutic profile of olanzapine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1798-1805
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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