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Headache and Genetics [Turk J Neurol]
Turk J Neurol. 2006; 12(4): 253-268

Headache and Genetics

Betül Baykan1
1
2

Migraine is considered as a complex polygenic disease in which the
genetic factors interact with the environmental factors. There is a variety
of evidence emphasizing that genetic factors take more role in migraine
with aura than migraine without aura. Responsible loci, predisposition
genes and their number remain to be unknown.
The autozomal dominantly inherited monogenic migraine form, which is
called as familial hemiplegic migraine, is now proved to be definitely
caused by mutations in the genes related to the calcium channel
(CACNA1A), Na-K-ATPase pump (ATP1A2) and the sodium channel
(SCN1A). These data support the idea that migraine is a channelopathy,
that is, an ion channel disease. Another interesting dimension of this
phenomenon is that migraine without aura or totally normal phenotype
can be found in some family members who inherit these mutations.
On the other hand, two of these genes -that were discovered first- were
investigated and found to form no significant predisposition region for
the other common migraine phenotypes except for a few cases.
Interestingly, in several trials, it has been determined that a locus in the
19p13 region, telomeric neighbor of this gene, has an association with
the predisposition for migraine with aura; however this region is
different from CACNA1A. The linkage analysis studies have shown
distinct linkage regions on quite different chromosomes; the results of
some studies has not been verified by others due to the methodological
reasons and more importantly for the ethnical diversities. Numerous
studies that investigate the association of the genes –that can be
considered as candidates- with polymorphism are available, but their
significance is not yet clear.
The fact that in the future migraine genetics research will clarify the genes
of common and serious forms is important in terms of specific diagnosis
and treatment. It is important that migraine, which is considered by the
World Health Organization not only as one of the most serious causes of
disability but also as a personal and social problem, is investigated by each
society with regard to its own genetic factors due to the intersociety
d i f f e r e n c e s



Betül Baykan. Headache and Genetics. Turk J Neurol. 2006; 12(4): 253-268

Corresponding Author: Betül Baykan


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