Effect of COMT Val108/158Met Genotype on Risk for Polydipsia in Chronic Patients with Schizophrenia
Polydipsia is a serious condition often seen among patients with schizophrenia (SCZ). The cause of polydipsia is unknown; hence, it is hard to treat or manage. Animal studies showed that the drinking behavior is regulated by central dopaminergic neurotransmission at the hypothalamus. Meanwhile, the existence of a genetic predisposition to polydipsia in patients with SCZ has been suggested. The purpose of this study was to assess whether a functional polymorphism, Val108/158Met in the gene for catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), is associated with susceptibility to polydipsia using a Japanese sample of SCZ. Our sample includes 330 chronic patients with SCZ (83 polydipsic patients and 247 non-polydipsic controls). The common COMT Val108/158Met polymorphism was genotyped, and the differences in genotype distribution and allele frequency between cases and controls were evaluated using the χ2 test. A significant association between the COMT Val108/158Met polymorphism and polydipsia was found (genotype distribution: χ2 = 13.0, df = 2, p = 0.001; allele frequency: χ2 = 7.50, df = 1, p = 0.006). The high-COMT activity group (Val/Val) was more frequent among patients with polydipsia compared with the low-COMT activity group (Val/Met + Met/Met) [odds ratio (OR) = 2.46]. The association survived after controlling for other possible confounding factors, including gender, age, age of onset, current antipsychotic dose, and smoking status. Our results suggest that the COMT Val108/158Met genotype may confer susceptibility to polydipsia in SCZ. To our knowledge, this is the first association study between the COMT gene and polydipsia in SCZ. Further studies with larger sample sizes are warranted to confirm present findings.