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J Headache Pain. 2018 Aug 30;19(1):75. doi: 10.1186/s10194-018-0891-x.

New CACNA1A deletions are associated to migraine phenotypes.

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IRCCS Mondino Foundation, Genomic and post-Genomic Center, Pavia, Italy.
IRCCS Mondino Foundation, Genomic and post-Genomic Center, Pavia, Italy.
Unit of Medical Genetics, S. Anna University-Hospital, Ferrara, Italy.
IRCCS Mondino Foundation, Headache Science Center, Pavia, Italy.



Familial hemiplegic migraine type 1 (FHM1) is a form of migraine with aura caused by heterozygous mutations in 4 genes: CACNA1A, ATP1A2, SNC1A and PRRT2, but further heterogeneity is expected. Here have been described clinical and molecular features in patients suffering from migraine with Aura (MA), without (MO) and hemiplegic migraine attacks. Next Generation Sequencing by TruSeq Custom Amplicon for CACNA1A and ATP1A2 gene has been performed. All genetic variants have been confirmed by Sanger sequencing and all samples were also analyzed with MLPA assay for ATP1A2-CACNA1A genes to detect duplication or deletion. All MLPA data were verified by Real Time PCR.


Sequencing analysis showed 3 point mutations, two novel variants and one already described in literature. Moreover, MLPA analysis showed 3 deletions in 9 sporadic hemiplegic migraine (18%), in 3 patients with non-hemiplegic migraine (4.1%) and in 3 patients affected by episodic ataxia (20%). Two sporadic patients showed a deletion in exons 41-43, while the rest of HM patients (5) showed a deletion in the terminal part of the CACNA1A gene. About episodic ataxia, we have identified deletions in exon 12-15 and in exon 47. Finally, in migraine patients, we have found different subjects affected by different phenotypes deleted in exon 47.


This work highlights the importance to complement analysis as direct sequencing with quantitative analysis (MLPA). In fact, intragenic CACNA1A rearrangements have been detected. Our work demonstrated that deletions in CACNA1A gene may be associated also to different migraine phenotypes.


CACNA1A; De novo; Deletion; Migraine phenotypes

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