Expert Opinion: Recent Genetic Research & Migraine

The exact cause of migraine is unknown but genetics is thought to play an important role. Migraines tend to run in families. A recent study, published on 6/12/11 in the British Journal Nature Genetics, helps confirm the role of genetics and inheritance in migraine. In this study, scientists uncovered 3 genes to be associated with migraine individuals and one of them exclusively linked to women with migraine. In this study, the genetic components (genome) of 23, 230 women were examined; 5122 had migraine. Differences in the genetic make-up (DNA) were evaluated and the 3 genes found linked to the women with migraine are:

1. PRDM 16

2. TRPM 8 (unique to women with migraine)

3. LRP1

This study helps to confirm earlier, smaller studies showing a genetic link to migraine. It is not expected that genetic testing will be part of the work-up for the majority of migraine individuals; however, this study is important is our understanding of the cause of migraine.

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