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Migraine is classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as being one of the top 20 most debilitating diseases. According to the neurovascular hypothesis, neuroinflammation may promote the activation and sensitisation of meningeal nociceptors, inducing the persistent throbbing headache characterized in migraine. The tumor necrosis factor (TNF) gene cluster, made up of TNFα, lymphotoxin α (LTA), and lymphotoxin β (LTB), has been implicated to influence the intensity and duration of local inflammation. It is thought that sterile inflammation mediated by LTA, LTB, and TNFα contributes to threshold brain excitability, propagation of neuronal hyperexcitability and thus initiation and maintenance of a migraine attack. Previous studies have investigated variants within the TNF gene cluster region in relation to migraine susceptibility, with largely conflicting results. The aim of this study was to expand on previous research and utilize a large case-control cohort and range of variants within the TNF gene cluster to investigate the role of the TNF gene cluster in migraine. Nine single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were selected for investigation as follows: rs1800683, rs2229094, rs2009658, rs2071590, rs2239704, rs909253, rs1800630, rs1800629, and rs3093664. No significant association with migraine susceptibility was found for any of the SNPs tested, with further testing according to migraine subtype and gender also showing no association for disease risk. Haplotype analysis showed that none of the tested haplotypes were significantly associated with migraine.
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