Cervical artery dissection (CeAD), a mural hematoma in a carotid or vertebral artery, is a major cause of ischemic stroke in young adults although relatively uncommon in the general population (incidence of 2.6/100,000 per year)1. Minor cervical traumas, infection, migraine and hypertension are putative risk factors1-3, and inverse associations with obesity and hypercholesterolemia are described3,4. No confirmed genetic susceptibility factors have been identified using candidate gene approaches5. We performed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in 1,393 CeAD cases and 14,416 controls. The rs9349379[G] allele (PHACTR1) was associated with lower CeAD risk (odds ratio (OR) = 0.75, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.69-0.82; P = 4.46 × 10-10), with confirmation in independent follow-up samples (659 CeAD cases and 2,648 controls; P = 3.91 × 10-3; combined P = 1.00 × 10-11). The rs9349379[G] allele was previously shown to be associated with lower risk of migraine and increased risk of myocardial infarction6-9. Deciphering the mechanisms underlying this pleiotropy might provide important information on the.
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