COMT Gene and Sensitivity to Pain

The COMT gene provides instructions for making an enzyme called catechol-O-methyltransferase. The Val108/158Met variant of the COMT gene has been associated with disorders that affect thought and emotion. A functional polymorphism in this gene has also been demonstrated to be related to processing of emotional stimuli and pain regulation in healthy subjects.

Data shows that the val158met polymorphism in the COMT gene contributes significantly to differences in neural pain processing: in healthy people, this polymorphism was more related to cognitive aspects of pain processing. Patients with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) - a condition associated with reduced pain sensitivity, showed an association with activity in brain regions related to affective pain processing.