Four gene loci predispose people to most common subtype of migraine

June 10, 2012
Regional plots for newly identified variants associated with migraine. Each regional plots shows the chromosomal position of SNPs in the specific region. [Nature Genetics doi: 10.1038/ng.2307]

An international research group has identified four new gene loci predisposing people to the most common subtype of migraine, migraine without aura. About two-thirds of migraine sufferers belong to this group. The study will be published in Nature Genetics on June 10, 2012.

Researchers studied of more than 11 000 people and found altogether six genes that predispose to migraine without aura. Four of these genes are new and two of them confirm previous findings.

The new genes identified in this study provide further evidence for the hypothesis that of molecules important in transmitting signals between brain neurons contribute to migraine. Two of the genes support the hypothesis of a possible role of blood vessels and thus disturbances in blood flow.

The researchers carried out what is known as a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to zoom in on genome variants that could increase susceptibility to migraine; they compared genomes of 4800 migraine patients with more than 7000 non-migraine individuals. The project was performed by the International Headache Genetics Consortium consisting of leading migraine researches from Europe and Australia.

This was the third report on genes predisposing people to common forms of migraine, but the first one on the most common migraine subtype. "The study establishes for the first time a specific gene that contributes to this common disease" said Professor Aarno Palotie at FIMM and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the chair of the International Headache Genetics Consortium.

The carefully studied migraine patients collected from specialized headache clinics were provided a strong basis for the success of this study.

Migraine affects approximately one in six women and one in eight men, making it a leading cause of work absence and short-term incapacity: 25 million school or work days are lost for migraine each year. A US report measures its as similar to those of diabetes and WHO lists it as one of the top twenty diseases with the causes of years lived with disability (YLDs). In up to one third of migraine patients, the headache phase may be preceded or accompanied by transient neurological disturbances, the so-called aura (i.e. migraine with aura), while the majority of patients suffer from migraine without aura.

"Studies of this kind are possible only through large-scale international collaboration - bringing together the wealth of data with the right expertise and resources. The identified genes open new doors to investigate how this type of comes about," said Dr. Arn van den Maagdenberg, one of the senior authors on the paper.

Explore further: Migraine linked to increased risk of depression in women

More information: Genome-wide association analysis identifies susceptibility loci for migraine without aura. Freilinger, T et al. Nature Genetics 2012. DOI: 10.1038/ng.2307

Related Stories

Migraine linked to increased risk of depression in women

February 22, 2012
New research suggests women who have migraine or have had them in the past are at an increased risk for developing depression compared to women who have never had migraine. The study was released today and will be presented ...

Many migraines may have a common genetic basis

June 13, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- A study into the genetic basis of many common forms of migraine has identified three variants that suggest that most forms of migraine have a shared genetic foundation, regardless of how they manifest ...

A pill to prevent migraine? Discovery of migraine gene could put it on the horizon

June 1, 2011
The discovery of a gene for migraine holds great promise in the quest for new approaches -- possibly even a pill -- for preventing the disease, says a panel of experts presenting data at the annual scientific meeting of the ...

Recommended for you

Genome editing enhances T-cells for cancer immunotherapy

November 20, 2017
Researchers at Cardiff University have found a way to boost the cancer-destroying ability of the immune system's T-cells, offering new hope in the fight against a wide range of cancers.

A math concept from the engineering world points to a way of making massive transcriptome studies more efficient

November 17, 2017
To most people, data compression refers to shrinking existing data—say from a song or picture's raw digital recording—by removing some data, but not so much as to render it unrecognizable (think MP3 or JPEG files). Now, ...

US scientists try first gene editing in the body

November 15, 2017
Scientists for the first time have tried editing a gene inside the body in a bold attempt to permanently change a person's DNA to try to cure a disease.

Genetic mutation in extended Amish family in Indiana protects against aging and increases longevity (Update)

November 15, 2017
The first genetic mutation that appears to protect against multiple aspects of biological aging in humans has been discovered in an extended family of Old Order Amish living in the vicinity of Berne, Indiana, report Northwestern ...

Genetic variant prompts cells to store fat, fueling obesity

November 13, 2017
Obesity is often attributed to a simple equation: People are eating too much and exercising too little. But evidence is growing that at least some of the weight gain that plagues modern humans is predetermined. New research ...

Discovering a protein's role in gene expression

November 10, 2017
Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered that a protein called BRWD2/PHIP binds to histone lysine 4 (H3K4) methylation—a key molecular event that influences gene expression—and demonstrated that it does so via ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.