Variants in the human potassium channel gene (KCNN3) are associated with migraine in a high risk genetic isolate

Thumbnail Image
File version
Cox, Hannah
Lea, Rodney
Bellis, Claire
Carless, Melanie
Dyer, Tom
Blangero, John
Griffiths, Lyn
Primary Supervisor
Other Supervisors

216707 bytes

File type(s)



The calcium-activated potassium ion channel gene (KCNN3) is located in the vicinity of the familial hemiplegic migraine type 2 locus on chromosome 1q21.3. This gene is expressed in the central nervous system and plays a role in neural excitability. Previous association studies have provided some, although not conclusive, evidence for involvement of this gene in migraine susceptibility. To elucidate KCNN3 involvement in migraine, we performed gene-wide SNP genotyping in a high-risk genetic isolate from Norfolk Island, a population descended from a small number of eighteenth century Isle of Man 'Bounty Mutineer' and Tahitian founders. Phenotype information was available for 377 individuals who are related through the single, well-defined Norfolk pedigree (96 were affected: 64 MA, 32 MO). A total of 85 SNPs spanning the KCNN3 gene were genotyped in a sub-sample of 285 related individuals (76 affected), all core members of the extensive Norfolk Island 'Bounty Mutineer' genealogy. All genotyping was performed using the Illumina BeadArray platform. The analysis was performed using the statistical program SOLAR v4.0.6 assuming an additive model of allelic effect adjusted for the effects of age and sex. Haplotype analysis was undertaken using the program HAPLOVIEW v4.0. A total of four intronic SNPs in the KCNN3 gene displayed significant association (P < 0.05) with migraine. Two SNPs, rs73532286 and rs6426929, separated by approximately 0.1 kb, displayed complete LD (r (2) = 1.00, D' = 1.00, D' 95% CI = 0.96-1.00). In all cases, the minor allele led to a decrease in migraine risk (beta coefficient = 0.286-0.315), suggesting that common gene variants confer an increased risk of migraine in the Norfolk pedigree. This effect may be explained by founder effect in this genetic isolate. This study provides evidence for association of variants in the KCNN3 ion channel gene with migraine susceptibility in the Norfolk genetic isolate with the rarer allelic variants conferring a possible protective role. This the first comprehensive analysis of this potential candidate gene in migraine and also the first study that has utilised the unique Norfolk Island large pedigree isolate to implicate a specific migraine gene. Studies of additional variants in KCNN3 in the Norfolk pedigree are now required (e.g. polyglutamine variants) and further analyses in other population data sets are required to clarify the association of the KCNN3 gene and migraine risk in the general outbred population.

Journal Title

The Journal of Headache and Pain

Conference Title
Book Title




Thesis Type
Degree Program
Publisher link
Patent number
Grant identifier(s)
Rights Statement
Rights Statement

© The Author(s) 2011. This is a SpringerOpen Access license agreement which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Item Access Status
Access the data
Related item(s)



Clinical Sciences

Persistent link to this record