Pain and Neuroinflammation Imaging Lab

Extra-Axial Inflammatory Signal in Parameninges in Migraine with Visual Aura


Hadjikhani, N., et al., 2020. Extra-Axial Inflammatory Signal in Parameninges in Migraine with Visual Aura. Ann Neurol , 87 (6) , pp. 939-949.

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Date Published:

2020 06


OBJECTIVE: Cortical spreading depression (CSD) underlies the neurobiology of migraine with aura (MWA). Animal studies reveal networks of microvessels linking brain-meninges-bone marrow. CSD activates the trigeminovascular system, evoking a meningeal inflammatory response. Accordingly, this study examines the upregulation of an inflammatory marker in extra-axial tissues in migraine with visual aura. METHODS: We used simultaneously acquired 11 C-PBR28 positron emission tomography/magnetic resonance imaging data of 18kDa translocator protein (an inflammatory marker) in MWA patients (n = 11) who experienced headaches and visual aura in the preceding month. We measured mean tracer uptake (standardized uptake value ratio [SUVR]) in 4 regions of interest comprising the meninges plus the adjacent overlying skull bone (parameningeal tissues [PMT]). These data were compared to healthy controls and patients with pain (chronic low back pain). RESULTS: MWA had significantly higher mean SUVR in PMT overlying occipital cortex than both other groups, although not in the PMT overlying 3 other cortical areas. A positive correlation was also found between the number of visual auras and tracer uptake in occipital PMT. INTERPRETATION: A strong persistent extra-axial inflammatory signal was found in meninges and calvarial bone overlying the occipital lobe in migraine with visual auras. Our findings are reminiscent of CSD-induced meningeal inflammation and provide the first imaging evidence implicating inflammation in the pathophysiology of migraine meningeal symptoms. We suspect that this inflammatory focus results from a signal that migrates from underlying brain and if so, may implicate newly discovered bridging vessels that crosstalk between brain and skull marrow, a finding of potential relevance to migraine and other neuroinflammatory brain disorders. ANN NEUROL 2020;87:939-949.

Last updated on 07/08/2021