Distribution of catechol-O-methyltransferase expression in human central nervous system

Neuroreport. 1998 Aug 24;9(12):2861-4. doi: 10.1097/00001756-199808240-00033.


Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT, EC is a ubiquitous enzyme crucial to catechol metabolism. Two isoforms exist in the human central nervous system (CNS) and they are encoded by two transcripts (1.3 and 1.5 kb) in most human tissues. Using two alpha-32P-labeled probes, we found only the 1.5 kb transcript in all 16 regions of the human CNS using commercially available Northern blots. Spinal cord had the highest and amygdala had the lowest levels of expression. The other CNS regions shared a similar level of expression. The distributions of COMT gene expression relative to whole brain between both probes were significantly correlated. Our study shows that the expression of the 1.5kb transcript is crucial for COMT activity in all regions of the human CNS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Northern
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase / biosynthesis*
  • Central Nervous System / enzymology*
  • Exons / genetics
  • Humans
  • Organ Specificity
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA Probes
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics


  • RNA Probes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase