Los Angeles: US scientists have discovered three gene variants linked to migraine, a move that could help understand the cause of severe headaches.
Inheriting any one of the three gene variants raises risk of severe headaches by 10 to 15 percent, the researchers said in a study published online by the journal Nature Genetics.
The three genes are TRPM8, LRP1 and PRDM16. The first plays a role in sensitivity to cold and pain, while the second is involved in the transmission of signals between neurons, Xinhua reported quoting the study Sunday.
"While migraine remains incompletely understood and its underlying causes difficult to pin down, identifying these three genetic variants helps shed light on the biological roots for this common and debilitating condition," said lead author of the study, Daniel Chasman, assistant professor in the preventive medicine division at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
The researchers based their findings on analysis of genetic data from more than 23,000 women, including over 5,000 migraine sufferers.
Although the researchers said the findings are encouraging, they noted that more research is needed to better understand exactly how each of these genes is associated with migraine.
Migraine headache, an abnormality in the response of nerve cells to stimuli, is characterized by recurring severe headaches, which often result in nausea as well as sensitivity to light and sound.