The genetics of migraine and the path to precision medicine.
Migraine is a highly heritable complex brain disorder, imposing a huge burden of disability on sufferers. The genetic architecture of migraine ranges from the rare Mendelian forms whereby a single gene mutation is sufficient to cause disease to gene variants that individually impart only a small increase in migraine risk. Despite the considerable advances in the last decade, there are significant challenges to translate genetic findings into drug targets and eventually successful treatments. The need for such treatments remains, even with the new wave of biological therapies targeting CGRP or the CGRP receptor. This will require integration of genetic data with new technologies such as human stem cell models of migraine that allow the interpretation of genetic risk into disease relevant cellular phenotypes. This was recently undertaken for the first time in migraine, whereby stem cells from patients with the rare TRESK frameshift mutation converted into pain sensory neurons demonstrated hyper-excitability. The continued study of the molecular basis of migraine thus offers new paths to drug targets and precision medicine approaches.