A single nucleotide polymorphism at the nucleotide 1947 in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene encodes the high and low activity forms of the enzyme. We investigated COMT genotypes of 73 Korean patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), 29 with multiple system atrophy (MSA), and 49 controls, and analyzed the response to levodopa challenge in the PD patients. We found no significant difference in the distribution of the COMT genotypes among the three groups. The frequencies of the G- and A-alleles in the total population were 75 and 25%, respectively. The levodopa response was determined by a single oral levodopa challenge test with Sinemet® (25/250 mg) in the patients with PD. The motor response evaluated by the time to peak response, the duration and magnitude of the response in the motor part of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale; tapping or walking times showed no significant difference between the genotypes. Thus, pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic factors other than the investigated genetic variant of the COMT enzyme seem to determine the response to levodopa in PD.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Päivi Tainola and Mari Sipilä (National Public Health Institute, Helsinki) for technical assistance with the genotyping assays. This study was supported by the CMB-YUHAN research grant of the Yonsei University College of Medicine for 1998. JOR was supported by the Päivikki and Sakari Sohlberg Foundation and the EVO funds of the Turku University Hospital.
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