Introduction: It is unclear whether patients diagnosed according to International Classification of Headache Disorders criteria for migraine with aura (MA) and migraine without aura (MO) experience distinct disorders or whether their migraine subtypes are genetically related.
Aim: Using a novel gene-based (statistical) approach, we aimed to identify individual genes and pathways associated both with MA and MO.
Methods: Gene-based tests were performed using genome-wide association summary statistic results from the most recent International Headache Genetics Consortium study comparing 4505 MA cases with 34,813 controls and 4038 MO cases with 40,294 controls. After accounting for non-independence of gene-based test results, we examined the significance of the proportion of shared genes associated with MA and MO.
Results: We found a significant overlap in genes associated with MA and MO. Of the total 1514 genes with a nominally significant gene-based p value (pgene-based ≤ 0.05) in the MA subgroup, 107 also produced pgene-based ≤ 0.05 in the MO subgroup. The proportion of overlapping genes is almost double the empirically derived null expectation, producing significant evidence of gene-based overlap (pleiotropy) (pbinomial-test = 1.5 × 10(-4)). Combining results across MA and MO, six genes produced genome-wide significant gene-based p values. Four of these genes (TRPM8, UFL1, FHL5 and LRP1) were located in close proximity to previously reported genome-wide significant SNPs for migraine, while two genes, TARBP2 and NPFF separated by just 259 bp on chromosome 12q13.13, represent a novel risk locus. The genes overlapping in both migraine types were enriched for functions related to inflammation, the cardiovascular system and connective tissue.
Conclusions: Our results provide novel insight into the likely genes and biological mechanisms that underlie both MA and MO, and when combined with previous data, highlight the neuropeptide FF-amide peptide encoding gene (NPFF) as a novel candidate risk gene for both types of migraine.
Keywords: Migraine; association; aura; gene-based; genome-wide; pleiotropy.
© International Headache Society 2015.