CATECHOL-O-METHYLTRANSFERASE (COMT) is the enzyme that catalyses the conversion of noradrenaline, adrenaline, dopamine, and other catechol compounds to their O-methylated metabolites1. COMT is widely distributed in many tissues including the red blood cell (RBC)1,2 and individual differences in the activity of this enzyme in human beings may be involved in the pathogenesis of various psychiatric and neurological diseases3,4. Inhibitors of COMT have been used experimentally in the treatment of Parkinson's disease and other neurological diseases5. COMT activity is decreased in red blood cells obtained from depressed women3 and is increased in erythrocytes obtained from children with Down's syndrome 6.
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