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The Val158Met polymorphism of the gene encoding catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is one of the most widely tested variants for association with psychiatric disorders, but replication has been inconsistent including both sex limitation and heterogeneity of the associated allele. In this study we investigate the association between three SNPs from COMT and anxiety and depression disorders and neuroticism all measured within the same study sample. Participants were selected as sibling pairs (or multiples) that were either concordant or discordant for extreme neuroticism scores from a total sample of 18,742 Australian twin individuals and their siblings. All participants completed the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) from which diagnoses of DSM-IV depression and anxiety disorders were determined. Of the participants, 674 had a diagnosis of anxiety and/or depression from 492 families. Study participants (n = 2,045 from 987 families) plus, where possible, their parents were genotyped for rs737865, rs4680 (Val158Met), and rs165599. Using family based tests we looked for association between these variants and neuroticism, depression, anxiety, panic disorder and agarophobia (PDAG) and obsessive compulsive disorder. We found no convincing evidence for association either in allelic or genotypic tests for the total sample or when the sample was stratified by sex. Haplotype T-G-G showed weak association (P = 0.042) with PDAG before correction for multiple testing; association between this haplotype and schizophrenia has been previously reported in an Australian sample.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet

Publication Date





1314 - 1318


Anxiety, Australia, Catechol O-Methyltransferase, Depression, Family Health, Female, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Genotype, Humans, Male, Neurotic Disorders, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Sex Factors, Siblings, Twins