According to existing estimates, migraine is a highly prevalent ailment, with about 15 percent of global population suffering from it at one time or another. In Russia, the ratio is as high as 20 percent. The current diagnostics and treatment methods are strictly clinical, i. e. they are based on a patient's complaints.
This research was conducted by KFU's Neurobiology Lab and Gene and Cell Technologies Lab. The team looked for genetic markers of migraine for about two years. Colleagues from Saint-Petersburg and Kazan State Medical University also contributed.
"Chronic migraine is a much more serious disease than episodic migraine. Migraine is prone to becoming a chronic syndrome, so it's important to detect those who may become afflicted in the risk groups with episodic migraines. Such patients may be assigned prevention medications to avoid chronic migraine. Thanks to this particular research, we found genetic factors protecting from the chronification of migraines," says neurologist, Junior Research Associate Aliya Yakubova.
For the testing, 46 patients with migraine and 50 patients without the disease were selected. They donated blood for DNA sequencing. In the sequencing process, the scientists determined polymorphisms in the pain receptor TRPV1. In this case, the replacement of nucleotide A by nucleotide G leads to the change in amino acids.
At this stage, the pilot studies have been completed. The selection process will continue, and patients with chronic or episodic migraine can partake.
"We will test the results on a larger selection of individuals. If our takeaways stand ground, we'd like to introduce them into clinical practice. If a patient has genotypes AA or AG, which don't prevent migraine chronicity, they can receive long-term prevention therapies. If they have the GG genotype, chronicity is unlikely, and only symptomatic therapy can be prescribed," continues Yakubova.
The work helped find significant differences in polymorphisms in patients with chronic versus episodic migraine. This means that some degree of genetic predisposition exists, and there are risk factors and prevention factors of chronicity for all the three genotypes. The patenting process for the technique is currently underway.