SOD2 (superoxide dismutase 2) plays a crucial role in protecting the cells against damage caused by free radicals, by catalyzing their detoxification. On the other hand, cell damage caused by free radical generation following methamphetamine administration has been postulated as one of the possible pathophysiological mechanisms for methamphetamine psychosis. Hence, we investigated the association of SOD2 polymorphisms with the development of methamphetamine psychosis, in two independent populations of Japan and Taiwan. We recruited 116 patients with methamphetamine psychosis and 189 controls in Japan, and 135 patients with methamphetamine psychosis and 204 controls in Taiwan. The methamphetamine group was divided into two clinical subtypes: a transient type of psychosis (i.e., good prognosis) and a prolonged type of psychosis (i.e., poor prognosis), according to the course of the manifestation of psychosis. With reference to the genotypic and allelic frequencies of Ala/Val functional polymorphism in exon 2, we found significant differences between individuals with prolonged methamphetamine psychosis and control samples from Japan and Taiwan in the genotypic (P value 0.014 and 0.016, respectively) and in the allelic (P value 0.004 and 0.047, respectively) frequencies. Our results suggest that Ala/Val polymorphism of the SOD2 gene could be associated with the risk of developing methamphetamine psychosis.
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