Inflammation demonstrated in migraine

Migraine is an inflammation related disease

By using positron emission tomography (PET) – a noninvasive molecular imaging technique – researchers were to able to identify neuroinflammation, which is marked by activated microglia cells (brain cells that are responsive to injury or infection of brain tissue) in animal models of migraine, as well as in patients with schizophrenia.

The study was published in the November, 2009 issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, 11C-PK11195 PET for the in vivo evaluation of neuroinflammation in the rat brain after cortical spreading depression.

The authors conclude:

These results suggest that as an inflammatory reaction, microglial cells are activated in response to the nociceptive stimuli induced by cortical spreading depression in the rat brain. Therefore, the (11)C-PK11195 PET technique could have a potential for diagnostic and therapeutic monitoring of neurologic disorders related to neuroinflammation such as migraine.

“Cortical spreading depression” is most often associated with migraine that is accompanied by aura (20-30% of patients) but may play a role in migraine generally.

Although neuroinflammation has been shown to play a major role in many neurodegenerative disorders – such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease – only limited data exists about the role of neuroinflammation in and migraine.

In fact, migraine has not historically been generally associated with inflammation. Thus, this study serves as at least slight confirmation of my belief that migraine is, in fact, a disease of inflammation, and that individual attacks are related to acute exacerbation of inflammation.

Over time I would suggest that the connection between migraine and inflammation will be further clarified, and that the connection will be strengthened.


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