COMT Met (158) modulates facial emotion recognition in bipolar I disorder mood episodes

  • Gerhardt Soeiro-de-Souza M
  • Soares Bio D
  • Petresco David D
  • et al.
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a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t Background: One of the many cognitive deficits reported in bipolar disorder (BD) patients is facial emotion recognition (FER), which has recently been associated with dopaminergic ca-tabolism. Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is one of the main enzymes involved in the metabolic degradation of dopamine (DA) in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The COMT gene poly-morphism rs4680 (Val 158 Met) Met allele is associated with decreased activity of this enzyme in healthy controls. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of Val 158 Met on FER during manic and depressive episodes in BD patients and in healthy controls. Materials and methods: 64 BD type I patients (39 in manic and 25 in depressive episodes) and 75 healthy controls were genotyped for COMT rs4680 and assessed for FER using the Ekman 60 Faces (EK60) and Emotion Hexagon (Hx) tests. Results: Bipolar manic patients carrying the Met allele recognized fewer surprised faces, while depressed patients with the Met allele recognized fewer " angry " and " happy " faces. Healthy homozygous subjects with the Met allele had higher FER scores on the Hx total score, as well as on " disgust " and " angry " faces than other genotypes. Conclusion: This is the first study suggesting that COMT rs4680 modulates FER differently dur-ing BD episodes and in healthy controls. This provides evidence that PFC DA is part of the neu-robiological mechanisms of social cognition. Further studies on other COMT polymorphisms that include euthymic BD patients are warranted. Identifier: NCT00969.




Gerhardt Soeiro-de-Souza, M., Soares Bio, D., Petresco David, D., Rodrigues dos Santos Jr, D., Shikanai Kerr, D., Farid Gattaz, W., … Albeto Moreno, R. (2012). COMT Met (158) modulates facial emotion recognition in bipolar I disorder mood episodes. Journal of Affective Disorders, 136, 370–376.

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