Current Pain and Headache Reports

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 132–139 | Cite as

Genetics of Cluster Headache

  • Markus SchürksEmail author


Cluster headache (CH) is a rare, excruciating primary headache disorder. A genetic basis has been suggested by family and twin studies, but the mode of transmission seems to vary and the amount of heritability is unclear. The number of genetic association studies investigating variants implicated in the pathophysiology of CH is limited. The HCRTR2 1246G > A and the ADH4 925A > G polymorphisms have been associated with CH. The former has been confirmed and may affect the hypothalamic hypocretin system. However, it only appears to account for a part of the genetic susceptibility for CH, and additional genetic and environmental factors are likely implicated. Pharmacogenetic studies have suggested that the GNB3 825C > T polymorphism may modify treatment response to triptans among CH patients by altering the signal transduction cascade via G protein–coupled receptors. Genetic studies in CH are notoriously difficult due to the complex nature of the disorder and the low prevalence of CH.


Cluster headache Gene variants G proteins Hypocretin Heritability Association studies 



No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyUniversity Hospital EssenEssenGermany

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