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The Association of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in the Catechol-O-Methyltransferase Gene and Pain Scores in Female Patients With Major Depressive Disorder

      Abstract

      We tested the hypothesis that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene are associated with baseline pain levels in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). Pain levels were quantified using a visual analog scale (VAS) for pain. Data from 159 female and 93 male self-reported white patients with MDD were analyzed. The associations between a haplotype previously associated with pain sensitivity created using COMT SNPs rs6269, rs4633, rs4818, and rs4680, and the proportion of female patients with “Pain While Awake” and “Overall Pain” at baseline were statistically significant (P < .05). In male patients, no statistically significant associations between COMT haplotypes and baseline pain scores were seen. The rs165599 SNP, which has previously been associated with response of depressive symptoms to treatment in patients with MDD, did not impact baseline pain in either gender. In conclusion, baseline pain levels appear to be associated with the COMT pain sensitivity haplotype in female patients with MDD.

      Perspective

      This article presents associations of the COMT pain sensitivity haplotype and baseline pain levels in female patients with MDD. This finding could potentially help clinicians who seek to assess how genetic polymorphisms may contribute to a patient's pain experience.

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