Background Calcitonin gene-related peptide provokes migraine attacks in 65% of patients with migraine without aura. Whether aggregation of migraine in first-degree relatives (family load) or a high number of risk-conferring single nucleotide polymorphisms contributes to migraine susceptibility to calcitonin gene-related peptide infusion in migraine patients is unknown. We hypothesized that genetic enrichment plays a role in triggering of migraine and, therefore, migraine without aura patients with high family load would report more migraine attacks after calcitonin gene-related peptide infusion than patients with low family load. Methods We allocated 40 previously genotyped migraine without aura patients to receive intravenous infusion of 1.5 µg/min calcitonin gene-related peptide and recorded migraine attacks including headache characteristics and associated symptoms. Information of familial aggregation was obtained by telephone interview of first-degree relatives using a validated semi-structured questionnaire. Results Calcitonin gene-related peptide infusion induced a migraine-like attack in 75% (12 out of 16) of patients with high family load compared to 52% (12 out of 23) with low family load ( P = 0.150). In addition, we found that the migraine response after calcitonin gene-related peptide was not associated with specific or a high number of risk-conferring single nucleotide polymorphisms of migraine without aura. Conclusion We found no statistical association between familial aggregation of migraine and hypersensitivity to calcitonin gene-related peptide infusion in migraine without aura patients. We also demonstrated that the currently known single nucleotide polymorphisms conferring risk of migraine without aura have no additive effect on calcitonin gene-related peptide induced migraine-like attacks.
Keywords: Migraine; calcitonin gene-related peptide; familial aggregation; migraine without aura; risk alleles; single nucleotide polymorphisms.