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The Role of the Catechol-O-Methyltransferase (COMT) Gene in Personality and Related Psychopathological Disorders

[ Vol. 11 , Issue. 3 ]

Author(s):

Christian Montag, Magdalena Jurkiewicz and Martin Reuter   Pages 236 - 250 ( 15 )

Abstract:


This review provides a short overview of the most significant biologically oriented theories of human personality. Personality concepts of Eysenck, Gray and McNaughton, Cloninger and Panksepp will be introduced and the focal evidence for the heritability of personality will be summarized. In this context, a synopsis of a large number of COMT genetic association studies (with a focus on the COMT Val158Met polymorphism) in the framework of the introduced biologically oriented personality theories will be given. In line with the theory of a continuum model between healthy anxious behavior and related psychopathological behavior, the role of the COMT gene in anxiety disorders will be discussed. A final outlook considers new research strategies such as genetic imaging and epigenetics for a better understanding of human personality.

Keywords:

COMT Val158Met, personality, genetic imaging, anxiety, anxiety disorders, catechol-o-methyltransferase, dopamine, Eysenck's personality theory, Behavioral Inhibition system, Fight flight freezing system, Panksepp's personality theory

Affiliation:

University of Bonn, Department of Psychology, Kaiser-Karl-Ring 9, D-53111 Bonn, Germany.



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