History of headache and migraine diagnosed by structured interview utilizing International Headache Society criteria was obtained in two samples of female twin pairs—154 raised together and 43 raised apart since infancy. Zygosity was determined by standard methods. Probandwise concordance rates were determined. Assuming that liability to migraine has a multifactorial etiology involving a number of genetic and environmental risk factors acting additively, tetrachoric correlations in the four groups of twins (monozygotic raised together, monozygotic raised apart, dizygotic raised together, and dizygotic raised apart) were then calculated. The genetic and environmental influences in the liability to migraine were estimated using biometrical model-fitting methods.
Tetrachoric correlations for migraine were consistently higher in monozygotic than in dizygotic twins, for both reared together and reared apart samples, with a heritability estimate of 52%. Model fitting also suggested that approximately 50% of the variance in liability to migraine was attributable to genetic factors with nonshared environmental factors and measurement errors responsible for the remaining variance.