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Mol Med. 1998 January; 4(1): 14–21.
PMCID: PMC2230268

Comorbid migraine with aura, anxiety, and depression is associated with dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) NcoI alleles.


BACKGROUND: Unrelated individuals (n = 242) were interviewed directly for the presence of migraine, anxiety disorders, and major depression. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The data described in this study are derived from a clinical genetic relational database that was developed initially for the genetic analysis of migraine. Genotyping of the DRD2 NcoI C to T polymorphism located in exon 6 (His313His) was performed using previously described primers. RESULTS: A significantly increased incidence of migraine with aura (MWA), major depression, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic attacks, and phobia was observed in individuals with the DRD2 NcoI C/C genotype compared with individuals with an DRD2 NcoI T allele. Specifically, 69% (91/131) of DRD2 NcoI C/C individuals in the present study met criteria for at least one of these neuropsychiatric disorders versus only 22% (4/18) of the DRD2 NcoI T/T individuals (Chi-square = 15.29; p < 0.00005). The DRD2 NcoI C allele frequency is significantly higher (Chi-square = 17.13; p < 0.00002) in individuals with MWA, anxiety disorders, and/or major depression (C allele frequency = 0.80) than in individuals who have none of these disorders (C allele frequency = 0.67). CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that MWA, anxiety disorders, and major depression can be components of a distinct clinical syndrome associated with allelic variations within the DRD2 gene. Clinical recognition of this genetically based syndrome has significant diagnostic and therapeutic implications.

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