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Keywords:

  • migraine;
  • genetics;
  • genetic polymorphism;
  • alcohol-dehydrogenase 2;
  • risk factor

(Headache 2010;50:85-91)

Background/Objectives.— Alcohol has been traditionally considered a possible migraine trigger factor. Alcohol-dehydrogenase (ADH) enzymes are thought to play important roles in the metabolism of ethanol. Relevant polymorphism has been found only for 2 of the ADH genes (mapped on chromosome ): ADH 1B, betapolypeptide (ADH2) and ADH3. The polymorphism rs1229984, located in the third exon of the human ADH2 gene, causes the amino acid substitution Arg48His. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible association between ADH2 polymorphism and the risk for migraine and for triggering migraine attacks.

Methods.— We studied the frequency of the ADH2 genotypes and allelic variants in 197 patients with migraine and 255 healthy controls using allele-specific PCR amplification and MslI-RFLP's analyses.

Results.— The frequencies of ADH2 Arg/His genotype and of ADH2 His allele were significantly lower in patients with migraine when compared with those of controls, and were unrelated with the age of onset of migraine attacks, family history of migraine or presence of aura. The frequency of the allelic variant ADH2 His (ADH2*2) was significantly higher in the group of patients who reported triggering of migraine by alcohol when compared with the group who reported no effect.

Conclusion.— The results of the present study suggest that ADH2 Arg/His genotype should be associated with a decreased risk for migraine, while the ADH2 His allelic variant should be related with the risk for triggering migraine attacks after alcohol consumption in our population of migraine patients.