COMT and Schizophrenia
Professor Daniel Weinberger explains why the gene COMT, which detoxifies dopamine, is a candidate gene for schizophrenia.
COMT is one of the genes that has been studied, rather extensively, as a candidate risk gene for schizophrenia. COMT stands for catechol-O-methyl transferase. The gene encodes a protein, most genes code for proteins, which are enzymes, or various other molecules in cells. They are the machinery of how a cell works and the gene is the blueprint for transcribing this machinery. COMT was discovered by Julie Axelrod at the NIH in 1957 for which he actually won the Nobel Prize. It was the first of a family of these enzymes that inactivated chemicals in the body by methylating them. These were like detoxifying enzymes. And thereâ€™s been a lot of interest in COMT because it detoxifies, among other things, dopamine. And since dopamine is one of the chemicals that has been on the top-ten list of likely culprits in the biology of schizophrenia, the fact that COMT affects dopamine made COMT an appealing gene to look for. And COMT makes dopamine more or less active.
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Low activity of the COMT gene is associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder, as well as schizophrenia.
Professor Daniel Weinberger explains that the schizophrenia candidate gene, COMT, is abundantly expressed in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.
Professor Daniel Weinberger discusses evidence from a number of areas of research that marks COMT as a candidate gene for schizophrenia.
Professor Daniel Weinberger discusses evidence from a number of research areas that highlight the importance of the neurotransmitter glutamate in schizophrenia.
An interactive chromosome map of the genes and loci associated with schizophrenia.
Professor Daniel Weinberger explains that dopamine is the major focus of biochemical research into schizophrenia.
An overview of schizophrenia-related content on Genes to Cognition Online.
Professor Daniel Weinberger discusses research that makes dysbindin a candidate gene for schizophrenia.
Professor Daniel Weinberger discusses research that makes neuregulin a candidate gene for schizophrenia.
An interactive chromosome map of the genes and loci associated with cognitive processes and disorders.