Brain News – A new study has delved into the biological basis of migraines. The researchers are enthusiastic about the study’s significant contribution to migraine treatment and future genetic studies.
A recent study, conducted at University of Helsinki, uncovers previously unknown genetic architecture of migraines. It confirms migraine to be a neurovascular disorder and identifies new genetic risk factors associated with it
The study examined genetic data from 102,084 cases of migraine. The research spanned Europe, Australia, and the US. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) was also conducted to examine genetic variants that are common in general migraines or in one of the two main migraine subtypes – migraine with aura (MA) and migraine without aura (MO).
The findings are published in Nature Genetics.
The results identified 86 unknown genomic risk regions for migraine. This paves the way for further identification of new risk loci and accurate gene prioritization for migraine and other common diseases.
Moreover, the study successfully evaluates shared and distinct genetic components in MO and MA. Earlier, MO and MA were taken to be separate diseases. This research provides gene-based support to the notion that these migraine subtypes have both shared risk alleles and risk alleles that are specific to one subtype. There is also an increased sharing of common risk variants between the two.
Most importantly, the researchers unveiled the neurovascular mechanisms that cause migraines. The study found a genetic correlation between migraine and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular clinical outcomes. It actually testifies to the involvement of both the vascular system and the Central Nervous System (CNS) in migraines.
The research is ground-breaking in its contribution to effectively developing migraine-specific therapeutics. The identification of genomic risk regions means that researchers can now develop medications that target specific migraine-inducing genes.
In fact, one of the lead authors, Dr. Matti Pirinen, said, “These new associations near genes that are already targeted by effective migraine drugs suggest that there could be other potential drug targets among the new genomic regions.”
To Know More You May Relate To
Hautakangas, H., Winsvold, B.S., Ruotsalainen, S.E. et al. Genome-wide analysis of 102,084 migraine cases identifies 123 risk loci and subtype-specific risk alleles. Nat Genet (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41588-021-00990-0