Exome Sequencing Implicates Impaired GABA Signaling and Neuronal Ion Transport in Trigeminal Neuralgia

iScience. 2020 Sep 11;23(10):101552. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2020.101552. eCollection 2020 Oct 23.


Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a common, debilitating neuropathic face pain syndrome often resistant to therapy. The familial clustering of TN cases suggests that genetic factors play a role in disease pathogenesis. However, no unbiased, large-scale genomic study of TN has been performed to date. Analysis of 290 whole exome-sequenced TN probands, including 20 multiplex kindreds and 70 parent-offspring trios, revealed enrichment of rare, damaging variants in GABA receptor-binding genes in cases. Mice engineered with a TN-associated de novo mutation (p.Cys188Trp) in the GABAA receptor Cl- channel γ-1 subunit (GABRG1) exhibited trigeminal mechanical allodynia and face pain behavior. Other TN probands harbored rare damaging variants in Na+ and Ca+ channels, including a significant variant burden in the α-1H subunit of the voltage-gated Ca2+ channel Cav3.2 (CACNA1H). These results provide exome-level insight into TN and implicate genetically encoded impairment of GABA signaling and neuronal ion transport in TN pathogenesis.

Keywords: Genomics; Neuroscience; Structural Biology.