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Malik, Rainer; Winsvold, Bendik; Auffenberg, Eva; Dichgans, Martin; Freilinger, Tobias (2016): The migraine–stroke connection: A genetic perspective. In: Cephalalgia, Vol. 36, No. 7: pp. 658-668


Background A complex relationship between migraine and vascular disease has long been recognized. The pathophysiological basis underlying this correlation is incompletely understood. Aim The aim of this review is to focus on the migraine–vascular disorders connection from a genetic perspective, illustrating potentially shared (molecular) mechanisms. Results We first summarize the clinical presentation and genetic basis of CADASIL and other monogenic vascular syndromes with migraine as a prominent disease manifestation. Based on data from transgenic mouse models for familial hemiplegic migraine, we then discuss cortical spreading depression as a potential mechanistic link between migraine and ischemic stroke. Finally, we review data from genome-wide association studies, with a focus on overlapping findings with cervical artery dissection, ischemic stroke in general and cardiovascular disease. Conclusion A wealth of data supports a genetic link between migraine and vascular disease. Based on growing high-throughput data-sets, new genotyping techniques and in-depth phenotyping, further insights are expected for the future.