Scientists in Australia believe they have found a “female” gene responsible for causing migraine,a finding they say could explain why women are more likely to suffer from the debilitating headaches.
A team led by Lyn Griffiths from Griffith University in Australia found a new region on the X chromosome as having a link to migraines,providing new evidence that there might be a susceptibility gene involved.
All women have two X chromosomes while men have an X and a Y chromosome,and the researchers think more than one X chromosomal gene may be involved.
They also believe that a gene involved in iron regulation in the brain merits further attention.
These results provide more support for the role of the X chromosome in migraine and may explain why so many more females suffer from the disorder,Prof Griffiths was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
The researchers based their study on genetic research of 300 inhabitants of remote Norfolk Island located between Australia and New Zealand.
Many of the islanders are descended from survivors of the
mutiny on the Bounty,moving there when they outgrown Pitcairn Island. About 80 per cent of the inhabitants can trace their ancestry back to the mutiny.
Currently,12 per cent of the population suffers from migraine, said Prof Griffiths.
Even though we have some very good treatments for this very debilitating disease,they certainly don’t work for everyone and can have some adverse side effects.
Hence there is a real need to develop new migraine treatments, she said.
Prof Griffiths added that the island was ideal for study purpose because the relatively small gene pool made mapping genetics easily.
She said,This population was used due to its unusual pedigree structure in which genetic relationships can be traced through genealogical data to the island’s original founders,and also the high incidence of migraine sufferers in this population.
It’s very useful for gene mapping purposes because of
the reduced genetic and environmental diversity.