Susceptible genes of restless legs syndrome in migraine

Jong Ling Fuh, Ming Yi Chung, Shu Chih Yao, Ping Kun Chen, Yi Chu Liao, Chia Lin Hsu, Po Jen Wang, Yen Feng Wang, Shih Pin Chen, Cathy S.J. Fann, Lung Sen Kao*, Shuu Jiun Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective Several genetic variants have been found to increase the risk of restless legs syndrome (RLS). The aim of the present study was to determine if these genetic variants were also associated with the comorbidity of RLS and migraine in patients. Methods Thirteen single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at six RLS risk loci (MEIS1, BTBD9, MAP2K5, PTPRD, TOX3, and an intergenic region on chromosome 2p14) were genotyped in 211 migraine patients with RLS and 781 migraine patients without RLS. Association analyses were performed for the overall cohort, as well as for the subgroups of patients who experienced migraines with and without aura and episodic migraines (EMs) vs. chronic migraines (CMs). In order to verify which genetic markers were potentially related to the incidence of RLS in migraine patients, multivariate regression analyses were also performed. Results Among the six tested loci, only MEIS1 was significantly associated with RLS. The most significant SNP of MEIS1, rs2300478, increased the risk of RLS by 1.42-fold in the overall cohort (p = 0.0047). In the subgroup analyses, MEIS1 augmented the risk of RLS only in the patients who experienced EMs (odds ratio (OR) = 1.99, p = 0.0004) and not those experiencing CMs. Multivariate regression analyses further showed that rs2300478 in MEIS1 (OR = 1.39, p = 0.018), a CM diagnosis (OR = 1.52, p = 0.022), and depression (OR = 1.86, p = 0.005) were independent predictors of RLS in migraine. Conclusions MEIS1 variants were associated with an increased risk of RLS in migraine patients. It is possible that an imbalance in iron homeostasis and the dopaminergic system may represent a link between RLS incidence and migraines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1028-1037
Number of pages10
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • Migraine
  • depression
  • iron metabolism
  • restless legs syndrome
  • single-nucleotide polymorphism


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