Migraine GWAS: Beyond the Significant Variants

Migraine is a common brain disorder, characterized by severe headache attacks. It is caused by environmental and genetic factors, but the biological mechanisms underlying migraine are poorly understood. Genome wide association studies (GWAS) have identified genetic variants associated with the disease. We integrated migraine GWAS data with spatial gene expression data of healthy human brains from the Allen Human Brain Atlas, to identify brain regions and molecular pathways that are involved in migraine. We found gene modules that suggest involvement of neurotransmission, protein catabolism and mitochondria in the cortex; transcription regulation in cortex and cerebellum; and oligodendrocytes and mitochondria in sub-cortical areas.

Associated Researchers

  • Sjoerd M.H. Huisman 
  • Else Eising
  • Ahmed Mahfouz
  • Arn M.J.M. van den Maagdenberg (Human Genetics)
  • Boudewijn P.F. Lelieveldt
  • Marcel J.T. Reinders (TU Delft)


  • Eising E., Huisman SMH, Mahfouz A, Vijfhuizen LS, on behalf of the International Headache Genetics Consortium: Anttila V, Winsvold BS, Kurth T, Ikram MA, Freilinger T, Kaprio J, Boomsma DI, van Duijn CM, Järvelin MRR, Zwart JA, Quaye L, Strachan DP, Kubisch C, Dichgans M, Davey-Smith G, Stefansson K, PalotieA; Chasman DI, Ferrari MD, Terwindt GM, de Vries B, Nyholt DR, Lelieveldt BPF, van den Maagdenberg AMJM, Reinders MJT. Gene co-expression analysis identifies brain regions and cell types involved in migraine pathophysiology: a GWAS-based study using the Allen Human Brain Atlas. In Press