Migraine is the most common cause of episodic headache, and by far the most common neurological cause of a doctor’s visit. It affects some 15% of the population, including some 41 million people in Europe, and places a considerable burden on healthcare in both the developed and the developing world.
During the last few years, great strides have been made in discovering common genes influencing the susceptibility to common diseases, such as diabetes, Crohn’s disease and schizophrenia. However, no genes have yet been convincingly associated with migraine susceptibility, probably due to the high degree of variability of the disease phenotype combined with the lack of viable laboratory tests.
”To address this problem, we developed a new analysis technique concentrating on different symptoms of migraine”, says Professor Aarno Palotie (University of Helsinki, Finland, and the Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK). The new technique was used in the large international study including 1700 migraine patients and their close relatives from 210 Finnish and Australian migraine families. The Finnish families had been ascertained through neurology clinics, while the Australian families had been collected through a twin study. An initial genome-wide microsatellite study was followed up by an independent targeted replication study.
Researchers identified one gene locus on chromosome 10q23, which showed significant evidence of genetic linkage in both populations studied as well as in the replication study. The gene locus was especially strongly linked to female migraineurs. “In a further analysis, two independent previous studies, one Finnish and one Australian, had detected the same locus, but in those studies the level of evidence had been just below significance, and thus the connection had so far been missed”, tells researcher Verneri Anttila from Palotie’s group.
This locus is thus linked to migraine in a total of 4000 migraineurs or their close relatives. “All of these findings depended on the newly discovered aspect of migraine genetics: different types of pain – such as pain that pulsates or pain that is unilateral – are more closely linked to specific genetic loci than general pain”, Palotie states.
In this study, researchers were able for the first time to convincingly demonstrate a genomic locus to be linked to migraine susceptibility in two diverse populations. This is especially interesting as Finland and Australia are genetically distant, and also as it tied together previous research, resulting in very robust evidence for pinpointing the susceptibility region.
“This study is the first international collaboration as well as the largest linkage study in migraine to date. It successfully applied new analysis strategies in detecting the locus and thus paved the way for subsequent large association studies”, Palotie and Anttila say. According them, this study gives new hope to deciphering the migraine pathways and therefore discovering targets for future treatments, as well as discovering the first migraine gene variants.
Researchers from four countries and nine research institutes took part in this study:Finland: University of Helsinki, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Folkhälsan Research Center and National Public Health Institute, Helsinki
UK: Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge
Paivi Lehtinen | alfa
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy