Issue: 2011 > July/August > original article

Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene variants and pain in chronic pancreatitis

A.A.J. van Esch, E. de Vries, R.H.M. te Morsche, M.G.H. van Oijen, J.B.M.J. Jansen, J.P.H. Drenth


Background: Pain is the major symptom of chronic
pancreatitis. The role of genetics in pancreatic pain is
unclear. Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) regulates
enkephalin levels and influences pain perception. The
COMT gene contains functional polymorphisms that have
been found to influence human pain perception. The aim
of our study was to investigate COMT single-nucleotide
polymorphisms (SNP s) and diplotypes in chronic
pancreatitis patients and healthy controls. Methods: We genotyped four COMT gene SNP s: c.1-98A>G (rs6269), c.186C>T (p.=) (rs4633), c.408C>G (p.=) (rs4818)
and c.472G>A (p.Val158Met) (rs4680) using a dual-colour discrimination assay in 240 chronic pancreatitis patients and 445 controls. We generated five diplotypes with a frequency >0.5% and compared prevalence between patients and controls. Results: There was no significant association between the SNPs in the COMT gene and chronic pancreatitis. The diplotype ATCA/ACCG was more prevalent in controls compared with patients (OR 0.48, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.93, p=0.03) where the most common diplotype GCGG /ATCA
served as reference. However, after correction for multiple testing, this is not a significant difference. The distribution of other diplotypes was not significantly different between patients and controls. Conclusion: COMT SNP s and diplotypes are not associated with chronic pancreatitis. As a consequence, our results do
not support a significant role for the COMT gene in chronic pancreatitis.