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HIV serostatus differs by catechol-O-methyltransferase Val158Met genotype

Sundermann, Erin E.a,b; Bishop, Jeffrey R.a,c; Rubin, Leah H.a; Aouizerat, Bradleyd; Wilson, Tracey E.e; Weber, Kathleen M.f; Cohen, Mardgef; Golub, Elizabethg; Anastos, Kathrynh; Liu, Chenglongi; Crystal, Howardj; Pearce, Celeste L.k; Maki, Pauline M.a,b

doi: 10.1097/QAD.0b013e328361c6a1
Clinical Science: Concise Communication

Objective: The Met allele of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met polymorphism is associated with increased cortical dopamine and risk behaviors including illicit drug use and unprotected sex. Therefore, we examined whether or not the distribution of the Val158Met genotype differed between HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women.

Design: Cross-sectional analysis using data from the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), the largest longitudinal cohort study of HIV in women.

Methods: We conducted an Armitage–Cochran test and logistic regression to compare genotype frequencies between 1848 HIV-infected and 612 HIV-uninfected women in WIHS.

Results: The likelihood of carrying one or two Met alleles was greater in HIV-infected women (61%) compared to HIV-uninfected women (54%), Z = −3.60, P <0.001.

Conclusion: We report the novel finding of an association between the Val158Met genotype and HIV serostatus that may be mediated through the impact of dopamine function on propensity for risk-taking.

aDepartment of Psychiatry

bDepartment of Psychology

cDepartment of Pharmacy Practice, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

dDepartment of Physiological Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, California

eSUNY Downstate Medical Center, School of Public Health, Brooklyn, New York

fThe Core Center at Cook County Health and Hospital System, Chicago, Illinois

gDepartment of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland

hDepartment of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York

iDistrict of Columbia WIHS Center, Washington, District of Columbia

jState University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York

kDepartment of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Correspondence to Pauline M. Maki, PhD, Department of Psychiatry (MC 913), University of Illinois at Chicago, 912 S Wood St, Chicago, IL 60612, USA. Tel: +1 312 996 6941; fax: +1 312 413 7856; e-mail:

Received 5 February, 2013

Revised 20 March, 2013

Accepted 28 March, 2013

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.