Identifying a gene expression signature of cluster headache in blood

Cluster headache is a relatively rare headache disorder, typically characterized by multiple daily, short-lasting attacks of excruciating, unilateral (peri-)orbital or temporal pain associated with autonomic symptoms and restlessness. To better understand the pathophysiology of cluster headache, we used RNA sequencing to identify differentially expressed genes and pathways in whole blood of patients with episodic (n = 19) or chronic (n = 20) cluster headache in comparison with headache-free controls (n = 20).

Clinical and Genetic Aspects of Cluster Headache

Cluster headache (CH), a primary neurovascular headache syndrome, is characterized by recurrent, unilateral, short-lasting attacks of excruciating pain in the temporal and/or orbital region. The pain is considered one of the most severe pain conditions known to humans. Compared with the general population, first-degree relatives of probands with CH have a significantly increased risk of the same disorder.

Trigeminal TRPs and the Scent of Pain

The neurological mechanisms leading to headache pain are complex and poorly understood. Genetic studies of familial migraine conditions have provided important insights into the potential physiological causes underlying headache conditions.