Evidence for allelic association of the dopamine ß-hydroxylase gene (DBH) with susceptibility to typical migraine
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Migraine is a debilitating neurological disorder characterized by recurrent attacks of severe headache. The disorder is highly prevalent, affecting approximately 12% of Caucasian populations. It is well known that migraine has a strong genetic component, although the type and number of genes involved is not yet clear. However, the calcium channel gene, CACNA1A, on chromosome 19 contains mutations responsible for familial hemiplegic migraine, a rare and severe subtype of migraine. There is also evidence to suggest that serotonin- and dopamine-related genes may be involved in the pathogenesis of migraine. This study employed a linkage and association approach to investigate neurotransmitter-related migraine candidate genes. Polymorphisms within the dopamine beta-hydroxylase (DBH) gene, serotonin transporter gene (SERT), and dopamine receptor gene (DRD2) were tested in 177 unrelated Caucasian migraineurs and 182 control individuals. In addition, an independent sample of 82 families affected with migraine was examined. Unrelated case-control association analysis of a DBH intragenic dinucleotide polymorphism indicated altered allelic distribution between migraine and control groups (L2=16.53, P=0.019). Furthermore, the transmission/disequilibrium test, which was implemented on the family data, also indicated distortion of allele transmission for the same DBH marker (L2=4.44, P=0.035). Together, these results provide evidence for allelic association of the DBH gene with typical migraine susceptibility (Fisher's combined P value=0.006) and indicate that further research into the role of the DBH gene in the etiology of migraine is warranted.