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COMT polymorphism regulates the hippocampal subfield volumes in first-episode, drug-naive patients with major depressive disorder

Authors Otsuka Y, Kakeda S, Sugimoto K, Katsuki A, Nguyen LH, Igata R, Watanabe K, Ueda I, Kishi T, Iwata N, Korogi Y, Yoshimura R

Received 26 December 2018

Accepted for publication 29 April 2019

Published 6 June 2019 Volume 2019:15 Pages 1537—1545


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Yuka Otsuka,1 Shingo Kakeda,2 Koichiro Sugimoto,2 Asuka Katsuki,1 Le Hoa Nguyen,1 Ryohei Igata,1 Keita Watanabe,2 Issei Ueda,2 Taro Kishi,3 Nakao Iwata,3 Yukunori Korogi,2 Reiji Yoshimura1

1Department of Psychiatry, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu, Japan; 2Department of Radiology, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu, Japan; 3Department of Psychiatry, Fujita Health University School of Medicine, Toyoake, Japan

Purpose: Compared with healthy subjects (HS), patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) exhibit volume differences that affect the volume changes in several areas such as the limbic, cortical, subcortical, and white matter. Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is a methylation enzyme that catalyzes endogenous catecholamines. The Val158Met polymorphism of COMT has been reported to affect the dopamine (DA) levels, which plays an important role in psychiatric diseases. However, the relationships among both DA levels, COMT genotype, and brain morphology are complicated and controversial. In previous studies that investigated the hippocampal subfields, the greatest brain abnormalities in MDD patients were observed in Cornu Ammonis (CA)1 and the subiculum, followed by that in CA2-3. We have prospectively demonstrated the relationship between the single-nucleotide polymorphism of the Val158Met COMT gene (rs4680) and the hippocampal subfields in drug-naive MDD patients.
Patients and methods: In this study, we compared 27 MDD patients and 42 HS who were divided into groups based on their COMT genotype. The effects of the diagnosis, genotype, and genotype–diagnosis interaction related to CA1 and the subiculum volumes, as well as the whole-brain cortical thickness, were evaluated by performing a FreeSurfer statistical analysis of high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings.
Results: The results revealed that there was a statistically significant interaction between the effects of diagnosis and genotype on the right subiculum (a component of the hippocampus).
Conclusion: This Val158Met COMT polymorphism may influence the subiculum volume in drug-naive, first-episode MDD patients.

Keywords: major depressive disorder, COMT gene, brain morphology, hippocampal subfields volume, subiculum, surface-based morphometry

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