Prefrontal Electrophysiologic "Noise" and Catechol-O-Methyltransferase Genotype in Schizophrenia

Georg Winterer, Michael F. Egan, Bhaskar S. Kolachana, Terry E. Goldberg, Richard Coppola, Daniel R. Weinberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Background: Increased variability of stimulus-induced prefrontal electromagnetic activity ("noise") has been associated with genetic risk for schizophrenia. On the basis of animal experiments and computational models, we have predicted that this prefrontal "noise" phenotype would be related to variation in prefrontal dopamine (DA) signaling, which itself might be abnormal in schizophrenia. In the present study, the effect of a functional single nucleotide polymorphism (val108/158met) within the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene on prefrontal "noise" was examined, because the COMT enzyme is involved in cortical synaptic dopamine metabolism and weakly predictive of risk for schizophrenia. Methods: A Caucasian sample comprising 112 unrelated normal subjects, 83 schizophrenic probands, and 87 of their unaffected siblings was investigated, all of whom had measures of prefrontal "noise" estimated from event-related electroencephalogram during an auditory oddball task. Results: The val108/158met genotype was significantly associated with prefrontal "noise"; homozygous Val-carriers had greatest prefrontal "noise" values; odds ratio (OR) = 2.37 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.37-4.10), p = 003. The genotype-phenotype association was stronger when only considering male subjects with an OR = 3.37 (95% CI: 1.63-6.98), p = 002. Conclusions: The results suggest that COMT genotype impacts the level of prefrontal physiologic "noise.".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)578-584
Number of pages7
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • COMT
  • P300
  • Schizophrenia
  • dopamine
  • noise
  • prefrontal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


Dive into the research topics of 'Prefrontal Electrophysiologic "Noise" and Catechol-O-Methyltransferase Genotype in Schizophrenia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this