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Detection of a novel mutation in the CACNA1A gene

Cambridge University Press
Publication Date
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Familial hemiplegic migraine (FHM) is a rare autosomal dominant subtype of migraine with aura. It is divided into three subtypes FHM1, FHM2 and FHM3, which are caused by mutations in the CACNA1A, ATP1A2 and SCN1A genes respectively. As part of a regular diagnostic service, we investigated 168 patients with FHM symptoms. Samples were tested for mutations contained within the CACNA1A gene. Some tested samples (4.43%) showed an FHM1 mutation, with five of the mutations found in exon 5, one mutation in exon 16 and one in exon 17. Four polymorphisms were also detected, one of which occurred in a large percentage of samples (14.88%). The exon 16 2094G>A polymorphism, however, has been found to occur in healthy Caucasian control populations up to a frequency of 16% and is not considered to be significantly associated with FHM. A finding of significance, found in a single patient, was the detection of a novel mutation in exon 5 that results in a P225H change. The affected individual was an 8-year-old female. The exact phenotypic effect of this mutation is unknown, and further studies are needed to understand the pathophysiology of this mutation in FHM1. New information will allow for diagnostic procedures to be constantly updated, thus improving accuracy of diagnosis. It is possible that new information will also aid the development of new therapeutic agents for the treatment of FHM.

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