Genetic Locus Linked to Migraine Risk in African American Children

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"DNA model" by Caroline Davis2010 is licensed under CC BY 2.0Hakon Hakonarson, MD, PhD
Corresponding Author
Xiao Chang, PhD
Lead Author
The Center for Applied Genomics
Children’s Hospital Philadelphia
PhiladelphiaPennsylvania

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Migraine is a genetic disorder characterized by recurrent and intense headaches often accompanied by visual disturbances. Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) are a powerful hypothesis-free tool for investigating the genetic architecture of human disease. Currently, multiple GWASs have been conducted on European adults with migraine that have successfully identified several migraine susceptibility genes involved in neuronal and vascular functions.

Considering the prevalence of migraines varies across ethnicities, the genetic risk factors may be different in patients of African ancestries and European ancestries. In addition, if migraine presents at an early age (childhood), it may reflect elevated biological predisposition from genetic factors or increased susceptibility to environmental risk factors.

We performed the first GWAS to investigate the susceptibility genes associated with migraine in African-American children. The main out come was that common variants at the 5q33.1 locus in the human genome are associated with migraine risk in African-American children. The genetic underpinnings at this locus responsible for this finding are less relevant in patients of European ancestry.  Continue reading