Impact of COMT genotype on serotonin-1A receptor binding investigated with PET

P. Baldinger, A. Hahn, M. Mitterhauser, Georg Kranz, M. Friedl, W. Wadsak, C. Kraus, J. Ungersböck, A. Hartmann, I. Giegling, D. Rujescu, S. Kasper, R. Lanzenberger

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013.Alterations of the inhibitory serotonin-1A receptor (5-HT1A) constitute a solid finding in neuropsychi-atric research, particularly in the field of mood and anxiety disorders. Manifold factors influencing the density of this receptor have been identified, e.g., steroid hormones, sunlight exposure and genetic variants of serotonin-related genes. Given the close interactions between serotonergic and dopaminergic neurotransmission, we investigated whether a common single-nucleotide-polymorphism of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene (VAL158MET or rs4680) coding for a key enzyme of the dopamine network that is associated with the pathogenesis of mood disorders and antidepressant treatment response, directly affects 5-HT1Areceptor binding potential. Fifty-two healthy individuals (38 female, mean age ± standard deviation = 40.48 ± 14.87) were measured via positron emission tomography using the radioligand [carbonyl-11C]WAY-100635. Genotyping forrs4680 was performed using DNA isolated from whole blood with the MassARRAY platform of the software SEQUE-NOM. Whole brain voxel-wise ANOVA resulted in a main effect of genotype on 5-HT1a binding. Compared to A carriers (AA + AG) of rs4680, homozygote G subjects showed higher 5-HT1A binding potential in the posterior cingulate cortex (F(2,49) - 17.7, p - 0.05, FWE corrected), the orbitofrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex, the insula, the amygdala and the hippocampus (voxel-level: p < 0.01 uncorrected, t > 2.4; cluster-level: p < 0.05 FWE corrected). In light of the frequently reported alterations of 5-HT1a binding in anxiety and mood disorders, this study proposes a potential implication of the COMT genotype, more specifically the VAL158MET polymorphism, via modulation of the serotonergic neurotransmission.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2017-2028
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • COMT
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Serotonin-1A receptor
  • Single-nucleotide-polymorphism
  • VAL158MET

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • General Neuroscience
  • Histology


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