• HLA;
  • migraine;
  • polymorphism;
  • susceptibility;
  • tumor necrosis factor genes

Objective.—To better define the involvement of human leukocyte antigen region (HLA) genes in migraine via an association study of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) genes, located in the HLA class III region, with migraine with and without aura.

Background.—Migraine without aura and migraine with aura are disorders involving multiple factors—environmental and genetic. In a previous study, we hypothesized a protective role for the HLA-DR2 antigen, providing additional basis for the proposed genetic heterogeneity between migraine without aura and migraine with aura. The cytokines produced by TNF genes are polypeptide effectors of inflammatory reaction and endothelial function.

Methods.—Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-308 (TNF−308A and TNF−308G alleles) and lymphotoxin α (TNFB*1 and TNFB*2 alleles) polymorphisms were analyzed by the NcoI-cleaved polymerase chain reaction-amplified fragments in 47 patients with migraine without aura, 32 patients with migraine with aura, and 101 migraine-free controls.

Results.—The frequency of TNFB*2 allele was significantly increased in our patients with migraine without aura as compared with the control group (78.72% versus 61.4%, Pc = .004), but no significant differences were found between patients with migraine with aura and controls. Additionally, there was a significant decrease of TNFB*1 homozygotes in patients with migraine without aura compared with the control group (2.13% versus 16.8%, Pc = .0201). Carriage of the TNFB*2 allele confers a high risk for the development of migraine without aura. No significant association was found at TNF-308 polymorphism.

Conclusion.—These data support the hypothesis that lymphotoxin α could be a susceptibility gene in migraine without aura and confirm previous data indicating that migraine with and without aura are distinct entities with different genetic backgrounds.