Finnish researchers contribute to discovery of migraine gene

Ground-breaking research opens new possibilities for the prevention and treatment of migraine.

The team, which includes researchers from FIMM, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Central Hospital, found that both neural and vascular components seem to be important features in people predisposed to migraine without aura. They observed that genetic variations that produced disturbances to the transport of biological molecules across the nervous system seemed to be a crucial component of migraine predisposition.

Researchers studied genetic data of more than 11 000 people and found altogether six genes that predispose to migraine without aura. Four of these genes are new and two of them confirm previous findings. The new genes identified in this study provide further evidence for the hypothesis that dysregulation of molecules important in transmitting signals between brain neurons contribute to migraine. Two of the genes support the hypothesis of a possible role of blood vessels and thus disturbances in blood flow.

According to Professor Palotie, the research opens new opportunities for developing methods for the prevention and treatment of migraine. He believes that the research is also likely to help in understanding the background mechanisms of other neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases.

Sources: FIMM, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Kouvolan Sanomat