Family-based and case-control study of catechol-O-methyltransferase in schizophrenia among Palestinian Arabs

I. Kremer, M. Pinto, I. Murad, M. Muhaheed, I. Bannoura, D. J. Muller, T. G. Schulze, A. Reshef, M. Blanaru, S. Gathas, R. Goichman, M. Rietschel, M. Dobrusin, R. Bachner-Melman, L. Nemanov, R. H. Belmaker, W. Maier, R. P. Ebstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


COMT is a ubiquitous enzyme crucial to catechol metabolism. The molecular basis of COMT thermolability, that leads to three to fourfold differences in enzyme activity, is due to a substitution of valine with methionine in the Val158/108Met polymorphism. Of special interest is the role of this gene in major psychoses especially since a microdeletion (22q11) containing the COMT gene (velo-cardio-facial syndrome) also carries with it several types of behavioral disorders, including an increased prevalence of schizophrenia. Almost 20 genetic studies have examined the role of COMT in schizophrenia with ambiguous results. Towards clarifying the role of this polymorphism in conferring risk for psychosis, we examined a large group of culturally and ethnically akin Palestinian Arab schizophrenic triads (N = 276) using both a case-control and family-based study. In 194 informative triads with at least one heterozygote parent, no preferential transmission of either COMT allele was observed in this sample (TDT statistic chi-square = 0.14 NS; 131 COMT valine alleles were transmitted and 125 alleles not transmitted). However, using a case-control design a significant increase (Likelihood ratio = 3.935, P = 0.047) in the valine allele was observed in the group of schizophrenic patients (N = 276) compared to an ethnically matched control group (N = 77). The association was stronger in female patients (P = 0.012) similar to other studies showing that some COMT behavioral effects are gender sensitive. In summary, by case-control design but not by a family-based study, there is a weak effect in female patients of the high activity COMT allele in conferring risk for schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-39
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Volume119 B
Issue number1
StatePublished - 15 May 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Arab
  • Association
  • Catechol-O-methyltransferase
  • Linkage
  • Schizophrenia
  • Transmission disequilibrium test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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