Expert Opinion: “Evidence for vascular factor in migraine”

Expert Opinion on the Journal Article “Evidence for vascular factor in migraine”

This published study shows that dilation (enlargement) of arteries in the brain area occurs during a migraine. This helps confirm the theory that migraine is, in part, a vascular headache. This study also demonstrates that dilation of the arteries, both the middle meningeal artery (MMA) and the intracranial middle cerebral artery (MCA) only occurs on the side of the headache if it is a one-sided headache. If the headache is bilateral, then the dilation is bilateral. In addition, this study demonstrates that Sumatriptan (triptan medication also known as Imitrex) constricts the MMA but not the MCA but still helps the headache go away.

In summary, this study helps confirm a vascular role in migraine without aura. One of the roles of the triptan medications is vasoconstriction of the meningeal arteries; this study demonstrates this as well as showing that this activity helps the pain. So much attention in recent years has looked at the trigeminal nerve; the brainstem; and processes such as “cortical spreading depression” and “waves of depolarization” that it is nice to know that some of the basic theory of blood vessel involvement is still true. Years old migraine was referred to as the “vascular” headache; in part, that is still true and this study confirms that what we used to think was not wrong, it was just incomplete. Our knowledge of what occurs during a migraine and what happens with treatment continues to evolve.

Read more about migraine pathophysiology:
What is the difference between the vascular and neurovascular theories pertaining to migraine pathophysiology?

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Comments

View Comments (6)
  • Stormlaughter
    8 years ago

    Thanks Amrita – checking it out now.

  • Amrita Bhowmick, MPH moderator
    8 years ago

    Hi Stormlaughter – Someone shared a link to a news story regarding this publication on our Facebook wall. Here is a link to the original abstract:

    Evidence for a vascular factor in migraine
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ana.22292/abstract

  • Stormlaughter
    8 years ago

    I’m completely out of the loop on this. Help please! 😀

    Expert Opinion on the Journal Article “Evidence for vascular factor in migraine”

    Which journal, which article, and is there a public link? Thanks!

  • Diana Lee
    8 years ago

    Thanks for putting this study in terms we can understand.

  • Pen Ort
    8 years ago

    Thank you for this.

  • Migraine.com
    8 years ago

    This journal article recently generated quite a bit of discussion on our Facebook Wall. Thanks to Dr. Hutchinson for providing such a great summary!

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