Association between the catechol O-methyltransferase Val108/158Met polymorphism and alexithymia

Byung Joo Ham, Min Soo Lee, Young Mee Lee, Meyoung Kon Kim, Myoung Jin Choi, Kang Seob Oh, Yong Jung Han, Kyoon Lyoo In, Ihn Geun Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


It has been suggested that the characteristics of alexithymia result from deficits in frontal lobe functioning, and the prefrontal cortex is particularly dependent on the catechol O-methyltransferase (COMT) pathway. We investigated the relationship between COMT Val108/158Met, serotonin transporter coding sequence (5-HT transporter gene-linked polymorphic region; 5-HTTLPR) polymorphisms, and alexithymia. The study sample comprised 109 students at the Korea University. All participants were tested using the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20). They were genotyped for COMT Val108/158Met and 5-HTTLPR polymorphisms. Genotyping was analyzed using polymerase chain reaction. Subjects with Val/Val genotype had significantly higher TAS-20 scores than those with Met/Met or Met/Val genotypes. However, there was no significant relationship between the 5-HTTLPR genotype and TAS-20 scores. This indicates a possible association between the COMT Val108/158Met gene polymorphism and alexithymia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-154
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • 5-HTTLPR polymorphism
  • Alexithymia
  • Catechol o-methyltransferase


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