M.M.L. de Win
T.A. van Amelsvoort
W. van den Brink
- The effect of Ecstasy on memory is moderated by a functional polymorphism in the cathechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene
- European Neuropsychopharmacology
- Volume | Issue number
- 19 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA)
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
There is ample evidence for decreased verbal memory in heavy Ecstasy users. However, findings on the presence of a dose-response relation are inconsistent, possibly due to individual differences in genetic vulnerability. Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is involved in the catabolism of Ecstasy. Therefore, COMT gene polymorphisms may moderate this vulnerability. We prospectively assessed verbal memory in subjects with a high risk for future Ecstasy use, and compared 59 subjects after first Ecstasy use with 60 subjects that remained Ecstasy-naive. In addition, we tested the interaction effect of Ecstasy and the functional val 158met polymorphism on verbal memory. Met-allele carriers were somewhat more sensitive to the effects of Ecstasy on verbal learning than homozygous val-subjects. After correction for the use of other substances this effect was no longer statistically significant. The findings suggest that the COMT gene moderates the negative effect of Ecstasy on memory, but also other drug use seems to play a role.
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