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Molecular genetics and migraine


Migraine carries a significant hereditary determination. Familial hemiplegic migraine (FHM) has been recently linked to mutations in the CACNA1A gene on chromosome 19. CACNA1A codes for a subunit of a neural calcium channel. Other linkage loci on chromosome 1q21-23 and 1q31 have been reported. Several linkage and association studies have been performed to determine the role of the CACNA1A gene, and of other candidate genes implicated in the metabolism of serotonin and dopamine, in the more common types of migraine. Co-morbidity of migraine with vascular events has been analysed versus genetic prothrombotic factors and mitochondrial DNA, and genes involved in the inflammatory cascade have been explored. Though no definite conclusions have emerged from these studies as yet, molecular genetics of migraine can be expected to unravel the complex aetiologies of these fascinating diseases.

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Montagna, P. Molecular genetics and migraine. J Headache Pain 1, S135–S140 (2000).

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  • Key words Migraine
  • Headache
  • Genetics
  • Serotonin
  • Dopamine
  • Mitochondria


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