Role of the COMT gene Val158Met polymorphism in mental disorders: a review

Eur Psychiatry. 2007 Jul;22(5):276-81. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2007.02.002. Epub 2007 Apr 6.


The Val158Met polymorphism of the COMT gene is functional, easily detectable, and significantly related to metabolism of catecholamines, which underlie pathogenesis of a significant number of mental disorders. Evidence for the role of this polymorphism in schizophrenia, substance dependence, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anorexia nervosa and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is summed up in this review article. The results make it unlikely that the COMT gene plays an important role in these mental disorders, although a minor effect can not be excluded. Future studies on the COMT gene in mentally ill subjects should be stratified by clinical subtypes of the disorder, gender and ethnicity. Studies of endophenotypes instead of the complex disorder seem to be another promising research strategy. Gene-gene and gene-environment interactions should also be considered. The COMT gene is probably not "a gene for" any mental disorder, but the Val158Met polymorphism appears to have pleiotropic effects on human behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase / genetics*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / genetics*
  • Methionine / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics*
  • Social Environment
  • Valine / genetics*


  • Methionine
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase
  • Valine