Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the co-occurrence of migraine and depression and assess whether shared genetic factors may underlie both diseases. METHODS: Subjects were 2,652 participants of the Erasmus Rucphen Family genetic isolate study. Migraine was diagnosed using a validated 3-stage screening method that included a telephone interview. Symptoms of depression were assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale and the depression subscale of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS-D). The contribution of shared genetic factors in migraine and depression was investigated by comparing heritability estimates for migraine with and without adjustment for symptoms of depression, and by comparing the heritability scores of depression between migraineurs and controls. RESULTS: We identified 360 migraine cases: 209 had migraine without aura (MO) and 151 had migraine with aura (MA). Odds ratios for depression in patients with migraine were 1.29 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.98-1.70) for MO and 1.70 (95% CI 1.28-2.24) for MA. Heritability estimates were significant for all migraine (0.56), MO (0.77), and MA (0.96), and decreased after adjustment for symptoms of depression or use of antidepressant medication, in particular for MA. Comparison of the heritability scores for depression between patients with migraine and controls showed a genetic correlation between HADS-D score and MA. CONCLUSIONS: There is a bidirectional association between depression and migraine, in particular migraine with aura, which can be explained, at least partly, by shared genetic factors.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





288 - 294


Adult, Comorbidity, Depressive Disorder, Female, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Health Surveys, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Migraine Disorders, Netherlands, Odds Ratio, Pedigree, Phenotype, Prevalence, Sex Factors, Surveys and Questionnaires