French scientists have discovered one of the causes of migraine, finally opening the way to new, more effective treatments.
Migraine is a widespread disease that affects about 15% of the world's population and between 6 and 10 million French people. Soon, this figure could greatly decrease since French researchers have identified a new potential target to treat this neuro-vascular disease. The inheritance of migraines was known, but the mechanisms were still unknown. They published their results in the journal Neuron.
Regulate the electrical activity of neurons
Researchers at the CNRS, Université Côte d'Azur and Inserm have identified one of the origins of migraines: small channels present in our brain, called ion channels. Their role is to create and control electrical activity between our neurons to ensure they can communicate well. One in particular, the channel "Tresk", which plays an inhibitory role on electrical activity.
However, researchers have discovered in the genetic forms of migraine that these channels have dysfunctions. The channel "Tresk" will then split into two proteins, under the effect of a mutation of a gene: one is inactive while the other will stimulate the activity of neurons. The electrical activity is then not sufficiently controlled and the neurons are stimulated, over excited, leading to the appearance of a migraine.
Treatment tests as early as January
This discovery led researchers to target ion channels to prevent the onset of migraine headaches. "The purpose of these drugs would be to activate these channels, which would cause a brake on the electrical activity of neurons involved in the migraine attack," said Guillaume Sandoz, director of research at the CNRS and co-author of the study . "There is a real hope of developing real anti-migraine patients, but in some cases, patients know they will have a migraine because they have 'auras'. in place of migraine. "
A patent has been filed by researchers who will now work to develop an effective treatment that can act on this mechanism. They already know a molecule that acts on these channels and will start, early next year, to test it on rats. They even predict, in one year, to test it in humans. If all goes well, treatment could appear within five years.
The need to find an effective treatment
Currently, treatments used to fight migraine have been set up to treat other diseases, such as antiepileptics or antidepressants. In addition, other drugs, such as triptans, can cause other migraines if they are over-consumed. The interest of a targeted and effective treatment is then great. "Finding what regulates the mechanism of migraine and having a specific target for a possible treatment would be a real breakthrough," added Guillaume Sandoz.