Objective.—To determine whether patients with migraine without aura with maternal “inheritance” are affected by a monosymptomatic form of the MELAS syndrome (mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and strokelike episodes) or carry the most common mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutation associated with MELAS, namely the A3243G transition in the transfer RNA (tRNA)Leu(UUR) gene.
Background.—The association between migraine and abnormal mitochondrial function has been suggested on clinical, biochemical, and neuroradiological grounds. Migraine attacks with vomiting and cerebral infarctions, most often in the posterior cerebral regions, which are reminiscent of complicated migraine, are typical features of MELAS. The observation that migrainous patients have affected mothers more often than affected fathers suggests a possible role for maternally transmitted genetic factors.
Methods.—We studied 25 patients with migraine with aura whose mothers were also affected. A sensitive polymerase chain reaction restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis was used to detect mutated genomes.
Conclusions.—We failed to detect the MELAS mutation, but migraine may still be associated with point mutations of mtDNA other than A3243G or with as-yet-unidentified nuclear DNA factors related to mitochondrial function.