Get access

Val158Met COMT polymorphism and risk of aggression in alcohol dependence


  • The work for this study was performed at the Department of Psychiatry, Ludwig Maximilian University, Nussbaumstr. 7, 80336 Munich, Germany.


Aggression, violence and antisocial behavior are common in alcoholism, but their biological basis is poorly understood. Several studies and recent meta-analyses indicate that in schizophrenia the catecholamine-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met genotype may be associated with aggression, most often in methionine allele carriers. We tested this hypothesis in a sample of treatment-seeking alcohol-dependent in-patients (293 German patients and 499 controls, and additional 190 Polish patients as replication sample). As expected, patients with a history of violent or non-violent crime were more often male, had an earlier onset of alcoholism and more withdrawal seizures and delirium tremens, and were more likely to have a history of suicide attempts. COMT genotype was not associated with a history of violent or non-violent crime. More studies are needed on the neurobiological basis of aggression and violence in alcoholism.