Gene mutation found to be associated with migraine

Neurons The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail have reported on new research, published in Science Translational Medicine and conducted by a UC San-Francisco-led research team, which suggests a link between migraine and the mutation of a gene called casein kinase I delta (CKIdelta). The research may prove an important development in the quest for better understanding of and treatment of migraine.

The research team, lead by senior investigator Louis J. Ptácek, prepared the paper which presents both clinical and basic scientific evidence that the mutation causes migraine. The research linked the mutation with evidence of migraine in humans, in a mouse model and in cell culture in the laboratory.

The researchers first analysed the genetics of two families in which migraine was common, and found that a significant proportion of migraineurs in the families either had the mutation or were the offspring of a mutation carrier. The researchers went on to investigate the effects of the mutation in mice carrying it, such as having a significantly lower peripheral pain threshold and being sensitive to touch, sound and light.

The researchers believe that the research will aid understanding into the molecular pathway to pain migraine and in time could help develop better treatments.

Dr Andrew Dowson, Chairman of Migraine Action’s Medical Advisory Board commented: “This is potentially a really important finding. Until now there has been recognition of genes involved in rare subpopulations in migraine but this appears to be relevant to migraine as a whole-a gene called casein kinase I delta – this results in a new target for treatment. The current available migraine treatments either work in only some patients or cause side effects and new options are needed.”

Dr Sue Lipscombe, GP with a specialist interest in headache, adds: “The main importance of this on the foreseeable future will be an improved understanding of where we can target drugs but eventually gene manipulation may be possible. It is exciting to see the future advancing for sufferers.” 


For more information on the study click here.

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