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The migraine-stroke connection: A genetic perspective

Cephalalgia. 2015 Dec 9. pii: 0333102415621055. [Epub ahead of print]

Authors/Editors: Malik R, Winsvold B, Auffenberg E, Dichgans M, Freilinger T.
Publication Date: 2015

Abstract

BACKGROUND:
A complex relationship between migraine and vascular disease has long been recognized. The pathophysiological basis underlying this correlation is incompletely understood.

AIM:
The aim of this review is to focus on the migraine-vascular disorders connection from a genetic perspective, illustrating potentially shared (molecular) mechanisms.

RESULTS:
We first summarize the clinical presentation and genetic basis of CADASIL and other monogenic vascular syndromes with migraine as a prominent disease manifestation. Based on data from transgenic mouse models for familial hemiplegic migraine, we then discuss cortical spreading depression as a potential mechanistic link between migraine and ischemic stroke. Finally, we review data from genome-wide association studies, with a focus on overlapping findings with cervical artery dissection, ischemic stroke in general and cardiovascular disease.

CONCLUSION:
A wealth of data supports a genetic link between migraine and vascular disease. Based on growing high-throughput data-sets, new genotyping techniques and in-depth phenotyping, further insights are expected for the future.

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