Background.—Migraine has strong genetic and environmental components and may also be a significant contributor to chronic migraine (CM). It is hypothesized that gene expression changes in peripheral blood cells can be used to detect the interaction of these influences.
Objective.—Distinct genomic expression patterns for migraine and CM will be present. These genomic profiles will help clarify the interactions of inheritance and environment. This initial study begins to examine the feasibility of peripheral blood cell genomic analysis to assist in the understanding of the pathophysiology of migraine and CM.
Methods.—Blood samples from patients were obtained either during an acute migraine or CM. Genomic expression patterns were analyzed using Affymetrix U95A microarrays.
Results.—Expression patterns of 7 migraine and 15 CM patients were compared to four distinct control groups (total patients, n = 56) including healthy subjects. A group of platelet genes were upregulated in both migraine and CM samples. Different gene expression patterns were also seen between migraine and CM. A group of immediate early genes including c-fos and cox-2 were expressed at higher levels in migraine, whereas specific mitochondrial genes were expressed at higher levels in CM.
Conclusions.—Increased expression of platelet genes in patients with migraine and CM suggests similar underlying pathophysiology. The differences seen between migraine and CM in other genes suggest an overlapping but not identical pathophysiology. Further genomic profiling studies will help define these relationships and provide further insights into headache pathogenesis.