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Researchers found four gene loci predisposing people to the most common subtype of migraine
An international research group has identified four new gene loci predisposing people to the most common subtype of migraine, migraine without aura. About 2/3 of migraine sufferers belong to this group.
“This study establishes for the first time a specific gene that contributes to this subtype of migraine”, says Dr. Aarno Palotie (Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute). The study was published in Nature Genetics on the 10th of June.
Researchers studied genetic data 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 dysregulation 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 nonmigraine individuals.
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 carefully studied migraine patients collected from specialized headache clinics were provided a strong basis for the success of this study.
Text: Päivi Lehtinen