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Increased intrinsic brain connectivity between pons and somatosensory cortex during attacks of migraine with aura

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The neurological disturbances of migraine aura are caused by transient cortical dysfunction due to waves of spreading depolarization that disrupt neuronal signaling. The effects of these cortical events on intrinsic brain connectivity during attacks of migraine aura have not previously been investigated. Studies of spontaneous migraine attacks are notoriously challenging due to their unpredictable nature and patient discomfort. We investigated 16 migraine patients with visual aura during attacks and in the attack-free state using resting state fMRI. We applied a hypothesis-driven seed-based approach focusing on cortical visual areas and areas involved in migraine pain, and a data-driven independent component analysis approach to detect changes in intrinsic brain signaling during attacks. In addition, we performed the analyses after mirroring the MRI data according to the side of perceived aura symptoms. We found a marked increase in connectivity during attacks between the left pons and the left primary somatosensory cortex including the head and face somatotopic areas (peak voxel: P = 0.0096, (x, y, z) = (-54, -32, 32), corresponding well with the majority of patients reporting right-sided pain. For aura-side normalized data, we found increased connectivity during attacks between visual area V5 and the lower middle frontal gyrus in the symptomatic hemisphere (peak voxel: P = 0.0194, (x, y, z) = (40, 40, 12). The present study provides evidence of altered intrinsic brain connectivity during attacks of migraine with aura, which may reflect consequences of cortical spreading depression, suggesting a link between aura and headache mechanisms. Hum Brain Mapp 38:2635-2642, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Volume38
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)2635-2642
Number of pages8
ISSN1065-9471
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2017

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

ID: 52192404