As migraine is globally the second largest contributor to years lived with disability, there is clearly a large need for new treatments.
A particularly interesting finding was the identification of genomic risk regions containing genes that encode targets for recently developed migraine-specific therapeutics.
One of the newly identified regions contains genes (CALCA/CALCB) encoding calcitonin gene-related peptide, a molecule involved in migraine attacks and blocked by the recently introduced CGRP inhibitor migraine medications. Another risk region covers the HTR1F gene encoding serotonin 1F receptor, also a target for new migraine-specific medications.
Dr. Matti Pirinen, a group leader from the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, University of Helsinki, who led the study, commented: “These two new associations near genes that are already targeted by effective migraine drugs suggest that there could be other potential drug targets among the new genomic regions, and provide a clear rationale for future genetic studies with even larger sample sizes”.
The study was a joint effort between research groups from Australia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, UK and USA.
Reference: Hautakangas H, Winsvold BS, Ruotsalainen SE, et al. Genome-wide analysis of 102,084 migraine cases identifies 123 risk loci and subtype-specific risk alleles. Nat Genet. 2022:1-9. doi: 10.1038/s41588-021-00990-0