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

38 Citations (Scopus)


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
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Sept
Externally publishedYes


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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