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Current Understanding of the Interplay Between Catechol-OMethyltransferase Genetic Variants, Sleep, Brain Development and Cognitive Performance in Schizophrenia

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Abnormal sleep is an endophenotype of schizophrenia. Here we provide an overview of the genetic mechanisms that link specific sleep physiological processes to schizophrenia-related cognitive defects. In particular, we will review the possible relationships between catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), sleep regulation and schizophrenia development. Recent studies validate the hypothesis that COMT mutations may trigger disturbances during adolescence that affect sleep and cortical development. Anomalies in cortical development during this critical developmental phase may increase the susceptibility for schizophrenia. In conclusion, in view of therapeutic efficacy, we can envisage indications for future investigations into the role of COMT for sleep regulation, cognitive performance and sleep-related cognitive deficits.

Keywords: COMT; Catechol O Methyl Transferase; EEG; Electroencephalographic technology; Electromyographic technology; Non-REM; Schizophrenia; brain development; cognition; sleep; slow wave sleep

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Neuroscience and Brain technologies, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia. Via Morego, 30, 16131, Genoa, Italy.

Publication date: 2012-05-01

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  • CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular targets involved in neurological and central nervous system (CNS) disorders e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will contain a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in neurological and CNS disorders. As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for neurological and CNS drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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