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Pathol Biol (Paris). 1992 Apr;40(4):284-6.

Migraine and heredity.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Neurologiche, Università La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.


Since the time of Liveing and Gowers in the nineteenth century, migraine has been thought to be inherited, although family history has been widely studied, nearly all the reports are not scientifically based and studies on twins have never shown 100% concordance in monozygotic (MZ) pairs, indicating that migraine cannot be inherited by a single gene. Furthermore, the criteria for a polygenic trait are not fulfilled by migraine patients. The only two syndromes with a strong genetic basis of inheritance are familial hemiplegic migraine and migraine occurring in Mitochondrial Encephalomyopathy with Lactic Acidosis and Stroke-like episodes (MELAS). It is the predisposition to headache that is likely to be inherited; this is supported by the induction of migraine-like headaches with either m-chlorophenyl-piperazine (m-CPP) or nitroglycerin in normal subjects with a positive family history for migraine.

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