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Investigating macrophage-mediated inflammation in migraine using ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide-enhanced 3T magnetic resonance imaging

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BACKGROUND: Initiating mechanisms of migraine headache remain poorly understood and a biomarker of migraine does not exist. Inflammation pertaining to the wall of cerebral arteries and brain parenchyma has been suggested to play a role in migraine pathophysiology.

OBJECTIVE: We conducted the first experimental human study to investigate macrophage-mediated inflammation as a possible biomarker of migraine.

METHODS: Using ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO)-enhanced 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), we investigated the presence of macrophages in cerebral artery walls and in brain parenchyma of patients with migraine without aura. We used the phosphodiesterase-3-inhibitor cilostazol as an experimental migraine trigger, and investigated both patients who received sumatriptan treatment, and patients who did not. To validate our use of USPIO-enhanced MRI, we included a preclinical mouse model with subcutaneous capsaicin injection in the trigeminal V1 area. The study is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov with the identifier NCT02549898.

RESULTS: A total of 28 female patients with migraine without aura underwent a baseline MRI scan, ingested cilostazol, developed a migraine-like attack, and underwent an USPIO-enhanced MRI scan > 24 hours after intravenous administration of USPIO. Twelve patients treated their attack with 6 mg s.c. sumatriptan, while the remaining 16 patients received no migraine-specific rescue medication. The preclinical model confirmed that USPIO-enhanced MRI detects macrophage-mediated inflammation. In patients, however, migraine attacks were not associated with increased USPIO signal on the pain side of the head compared to the non-pain side.

CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that migraine without aura is not associated with macrophage-mediated inflammation specific to the head pain side.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCephalalgia : an international journal of headache
Volume39
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)1407-1420
Number of pages14
ISSN0333-1024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

ID: 58389587