In obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), symmetry-related symptoms may be important. Although clinical correlates of symmetry-related symptoms have been identified in OCD, few data exist on genetic associations. Animal studies indicate involvement of dopamine in symmetry-related behavior, suggesting this may be relevant to analogous symptoms in OCD. Alterations in dopamine may also reflect environmental influences. However, the association of symmetry-related symptomatology, early adversity, and polymorphisms in dopaminergic genes has not been investigated in OCD.
Clinical information and polymorphisms in key dopaminergic genes were compared between OCD patients with primary symmetry symptoms and those without.
OCD patients with primary symmetry symptoms comprised 46.6% (n=210) of the sample (n=451), and were older (p < 0.01), had longer illness duration (p < 0.01), higher OCD severity scores (p = 0.01), and greater comorbidity (p < 0.01) than those without. In Caucasians (n=343), genotype frequency differed significantly between groups for ANKK1
rs1800497, with more OCD patients with symmetry symptoms being homozygous for the A2 (CC)
= 7.296; p = 0.026).
Symmetry symptoms have some distinct clinical features and may represent a marker of severity in OCD. However, clinical associations, in combination with the association found with the ANKK1
variant, suggest that primary symmetry symptoms may represent a distinctive clinical and psychobiological profile.
Keywords: Obsessive-compulsive disorder; symptom subtype; trauma; genetics; dopamine