Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Treasure hunt in a minefield — exploring migraine with GWAS

In a powerful display of international collaboration, a new genome-wide association study has mapped susceptibility loci for migraine on the basis of genetic data from 375,000 individuals. The study implicates several new loci in migraine — many of them suggestive of vascular pathophysiology — but the functional relevance of many now-detected risk alleles remains elusive.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. Polderman, T. J. et al. Meta-analysis of the heritability of human traits based on fifty years of twin studies. Nat. Genet. 47, 702–709 (2015).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Ferrari, M. D., Klever, R. R., Terwindt, G. M., Ayata, C. & van den Maagdenberg, A. M. Migraine pathophysiology: lessons from mouse models and human genetics. Lancet Neurol. 14, 65–80 (2015).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Anttila, V. et al. Genome-wide association study of migraine implicates a common susceptibility variant on 8q22.1. Nat. Genet. 42, 869–873 (2010).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Chasman, D. I. et al. Genome-wide association study reveals three susceptibility loci for common migraine in the general population. Nat. Genet. 43, 695–698 (2011).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Freilinger, T. et al. Genome-wide association analysis identifies susceptibility loci for migraine without aura. Nat. Genet. 44, 777–782 (2012).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Anttila, V. et al. Genome-wide meta-analysis identifies new susceptibility loci for migraine. Nat. Genet. 45, 912–917 (2013).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Gormley, P. et al. Meta-analysis of 375,000 individuals identifies 38 susceptibility loci for migraine. Nat. Genet. 48, 856–866 (2016).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Zhao, H. et al. Gene-based pleiotropy across migraine with aura and migraine without aura patient groups. Cephalalgia 36, 648–657 (2016).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Nyholt, D. R. et al. Concordance of genetic risk across migraine subgroups: impact on current and future genetic association studies. Cephalalgia 35, 489–499 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Malik, R. et al. Shared genetic basis for migraine and ischemic stroke: a genome-wide analysis of common variants. Neurology 84, 2132–2145 (2015).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


C.A. has received support from the National Institutes of Health (grants NS061505, NS055104, and NS35611), Fondation Leducq, The Heitman Foundation and The Ellison Foundation.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Cenk Ayata.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares no competing financial interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Ayata, C. Treasure hunt in a minefield — exploring migraine with GWAS. Nat Rev Neurol 12, 496–498 (2016).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing