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Serotonin Transporter Gene Polymorphism and Migraine in the Korean Population


  • Woo-Kyung Kim MD, PhD,

  • Hyun-Sook Kim MD,

  • Won-Joo Kim MD, PhD,

  • Kyung-Yul Lee MD,

  • Hyojin Park MD,

  • Chan-Hyung Kim MD,

  • Se Joo Kim MD,

  • Young-Chul Choi MD, PhD

  • From the Department of Neurology, Hallym University, Kangdong Sacred Heart Hospital, Seoul, Korea (Dr. W-K Kim); Department of Neurology, College of Medicine, Pochon CHA University, Seoul, Korea (Dr. H-S Kim); Departments of Neurology and Brain Korea 21 Project for Medicine Science, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea (Drs. W-K Kim, Choi, and Lee); Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea (Dr. Park); and Psychiatry, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea (Drs. C-H Kim and W-K Kim).

Address all correspondence to Dr. Young-Chul Choi, Department of Neurology, Yongdong Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, 146-92 Dogok-Dong, Kangnum-Gu, Seoul 135-270, Korea.


Objective.—To evaluate the association between a serotonin (5-HT) transporter gene polymorphism and migraines in Koreans.

Background.—The 5-HT metabolism is believed to play an important part in the pathophysiology of migraines, and a polymorphism of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) promoter region might influence 5-HTT expression and serotonin uptake.

Methods.—This study compared 52 patients with migraine and 170 healthy control subjects in order to determine the association between a polymorphism of the 5-HTT gene-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) and migraine. Using PCR techniques, the products of the 484-base pair (bp) fragments were denoted as being short alleles (s) and those of 528 bp as being long (l).

Results.—The genotype distribution of the healthy controls was s/s (56.5%), s/l (38.2%), and l/l (5.3%) and that of the patients with migraine was 65.4%, 30.8%, and 3.8%, respectively. No significant differences were noted in the genotype and allele frequencies of 5-HTTLPR between the patients with migraine and the control subjects.

Conclusions.—A 5-HTTLPR polymorphism does not appear to be involved in the genetic predisposition to migraines.

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