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J Med Genet. 1999 Mar;36(3):225-7.

The inheritance of migraine with aura estimated by means of structural equation modelling.

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Department of Neurology, Glostrup Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.


Studies of migraine with aura (MA) have shown familial aggregation of the disorder, which cannot be explained by simple mendelian inheritance. The interest in a genetic basis for the disorder has increased after identification of three genetic loci for familial hemiplegic migraine (FHM), which is a rare subtype of MA with autosomal dominant inheritance. Both genetic and environmental factors seem to be important in the expression of MA. To elucidate the molecular pathogenesis of MA, knowledge of the relative role of genetic and environmental factors is essential. Twin studies are a classic way to analyse this. We applied structural equation modelling on MA with twin data obtained from a population based twin register in order to evaluate the effects of genes and environment. The correlation in liability of MA was 0.68 in monozygotic (MZ) and 0.22 in dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs, indicating a high degree of genetic determination in the total variance of liability. The best fitting model combined additive genetic effects and environmental effects that were not shared by the twins. The estimate of heritability was 0.65 and similar in males and females.

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