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Study shows how migraines are caused by alterations in metabolite levels

Despite the fact that migraines are painful both physically and financially, recently found genetic reasons by QUT researchers may pave the path for brand-new treatments and preventative medications

migraine, headache

ANI Health
Despite the fact that migraines are painful both physically and financially, recently found genetic reasons by QUT researchers may pave the path for brand-new treatments and preventative medications.
Genetic analysis findings were published in The American Journal of Human Genetics by Professor Dale Nyholt and his PhD candidates Hamzeh Tanha and Anita Sathyanarayanan, all from the QUT Centre for Genomics and Personalised Health.
Professor Nyholt said the team identified causal genetic links to three blood metabolite levels that increase migraine risk: lower levels of DHA, an omega-3 known to reduce inflammation, higher levels of LPE(20:4), a chemical that blocks an anti-inflammatory molecule, lower levels of a third, currently uncharacterised metabolite, named X-11315.
Professor Nyholt said these genetic links could now be targeted by future research and clinical trials to develop and test compounds that influenced metabolite levels and prevented migraine.He said migraine was estimated to cost the Australian economy $35.7 billion each year and current treatments failed up to 50 per cent of migraine patients.
"Observed relationships between genetic factors influencing blood metabolite levels and genetic risk for migraine suggest an alteration of metabolites in people with migraine," Professor Nyholt said.
Metabolites are substances made or used when the body breaks down food, drugs, or chemicals during metabolism.
"Variations in blood levels of metabolites can be due to diet, lifestyle, and genetics, but they are easy to measure and may be modified using diet planning and supplementation," Professor Nyholt said.
Professor Nyholt said people with migraine had higher levels of shorter-length fatty acids except for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a very long-chain omega-3 that protects against migraine.
"Fatty acids are made up of more complex lipids that help with cell signalling, cell membrane composition and gene expression, influencing disease risk," he said.
"Lower levels of DHA are associated with inflammation, cardiovascular and brain disorders, such as depression, which are all linked to migraine risk."
Professor Nyholt said LPE(20:4) was a chemical compound that blocked the production of an anti-inflammatory molecule called anandamide.
"If LPE(20:4) is controlled to allow the production of more anandamide to reduce inflammation, this could potentially prevent migraine," he said.
Professor Nyholt said that lower blood levels of a third metabolite named X-11315 also increased the risk of migraine, and that characterising it was an area of future research.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Feb 18 2023 | 9:01 PM IST

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