As schizophrenia is a complex mental disorder and the outcome of gene-gene-environmental interactions, there are different possible pathophysiological mechanisms in different schizophrenia subtypes corresponding to various risk factors. This study was aimed at examining the impact of one of the most likely interactions, that is, ‘dopamine
and stress’, in schizophrenia pathogenesis.
Here, we investigated the interaction between ‘war-related psychological trauma
’ without brain trauma and catechol-O-methyltransferase
gene. Using real-time PCR analysis we measured catechol-O-methyltransferase gene expression
level in the blood
cells of 66 male subjects in four groups, namely veteran schizophrenia patients as ‘stress-exposed schizophrenia’ (S-schizophrenia), their healthy brothers as ‘their genetically closest relatives’ (S-siblings), schizophrenia patients without any history of significant stress as ‘non-stress-exposed schizophrenia’ (NoS-schizophrenia), and the control group. The results were analyzed by Relative Expression Software Tool 2009 software.
The catechol-O-methyltransferase gene expression
was not significantly different between the S-schizophrenia and NoS-schizophrenia groups. However, compared to the control group, the catechol-O-methyltransferase
expression was significantly decreased in three groups of S-schizophrenia, their healthy siblings, and NoS-schizophrenia patients.
This data supports that reduced blood catechol-O-methyltransferase
expression, which may be associated with higher dopamine
level, is involved both in stress-induced and non-stress–induced schizophrenia.