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Meningeal contribution to migraine pain: a magnetic resonance angiography study

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The origin of migraine pain is unknown but possibly implicates the dura mater, which is pain sensitive in proximity to the meningeal arteries. Therefore, subtle changes in vessel calibre on the head pain side could reflect activation of dural perivascular nociceptors that leads to migraine headache. To test this hypothesis, we measured circumference changes of cranial arteries in patients with cilostazol-induced unilateral migraine without aura using 3 T high resolution magnetic resonance angiography. The middle meningeal artery was of key interest, as it is the main supply of the dura mater. We also measured the superficial temporal and external carotid arteries as additional extracranial segments, and the middle cerebral, the cerebral and cavernous parts of the internal carotid (ICA cerebral and ICA cavernous), and the basilar arteries as intracranial arterial segments. Magnetic resonance angiography scans were performed at baseline, migraine onset, after sumatriptan, and ≥27 h after migraine onset. Thirty patients underwent magnetic resonance angiography scans, of which 26 patients developed unilateral attacks of migraine without aura and were included in the final analysis. Eleven patients treated their migraine with sumatriptan while the remaining 15 patients did not treat their attacks with analgesics or triptans. At migraine onset, only the middle meningeal artery exhibited greater circumference increase on the pain side (0.24 ± 0.37 mm) compared to the non-pain side (0.06 ± 0.38 mm) (P = 0.002). None of the remaining arteries revealed any pain-side specific changes in circumference (P > 0.05), but exhibited bilateral dilation. Sumatriptan constricted all extracerebral arteries (P < 0.05). In the late phase of migraine, we found sustained bilateral dilation of the middle meningeal artery. In conclusion, onset of migraine is associated with increase in middle meningeal artery circumference specific to the head pain side. Our findings suggest that vasodilation of the middle meningeal artery may be a surrogate marker for activation of dural perivascular nociceptors, indicating a meningeal site of migraine headache.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain
Volume142
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)93-102
Number of pages10
ISSN0006-8950
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

    Research areas

  • dura mater, headache, inflammation, perivascular, trigeminal

ID: 56643856