The Impact of COMT and Childhood Maltreatment on Suicidal Behaviour in Affective Disorders

Alexandra Bernegger, Klemens Kienesberger, Laura Carlberg, Patrick Swoboda, Birgit Ludwig, Romina Koller, Michelle Inaner, Melanie Zotter, Nestor Kapusta, Martin Aigner, Helmuth Haslacher, Siegfried Kasper, Alexandra Schosser

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

10 Citations (Scopus)


The inconsistent findings on the association between COMT (catecholamine-O-methyl-transferase) and suicidal behaviour gave reason to choose a clear phenotype description of suicidal behaviour and take childhood maltreatment as environmental factor into account. The aim of this candidate-gene-association study was to eliminate heterogeneity within the sample by only recruiting affective disorder patients and find associations between COMT polymorphisms and defined suicidal phenotypes. In a sample of 258 affective disorder patients a detailed clinical assessment (e.g. CTQ, SCAN, HAMD, SBQ-R, VI-SURIAS, LPC) was performed. DNA of peripheral blood samples was genotyped using TaqMan® SNP Genotyping Assays. We observed that the haplotype GAT of rs737865, rs6269, rs4633 is significantly associated with suicide attempt (p = 0.003 [pcorr = 0.021]), and that there is a tendency towards self-harming behaviour (p = 0.02 [pcorr = 0.08]) and also NSSI (p = 0.03 [pcorr = 0.08]), though the p values did not resist multiple testing correction. The same effect we observed with the 4-marker slide window haplotype, GATA of rs737865, rs6269, rs4633, rs4680 (p = 0.009 [pcorr = 0.045]). The findings support an association between the COMT gene and suicidal behaviour phenotypes with and without childhood maltreatment as environmental factor.

Original languageEnglish
Article number692
Pages (from-to)692
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2018


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase/genetics
  • Genotype
  • Haplotypes
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders/genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Risk Assessment
  • Suicide, Attempted
  • Young Adult


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