Basic mechanisms of migraine and its acute treatment

L Edvinsson, CM Villalon, Antoinette Maassen van den Brink

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Abstract

Migraine is a neurovascular disorder characterized by recurrent unilateral headaches accompanied by nausea, vomiting, photophobia and phonophobia. Current theories suggest that the initiation of a migraine attack involves a primary event in the central nervous system (CNS), probably involving a combination of genetic changes in ion channels and environmental changes, which renders the individual more sensitive to environmental factors; this may, in turn, result in a wave of cortical spreading depression (CSD) when the attack is initiated. Genetically, migraine is a complex familial disorder in which the severity and the susceptibility of individuals are most likely governed by several genes that vary between families. Early PET studies have suggested the involvement of a migraine active region in the brainstem. Migraine headache is associated with trigeminal nerve activation and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) release from the trigeminovascular system. Administration of triptans (5-HT1B/1D receptor agonists) causes the headache to subside and the levels of CGRP to normalize. Moreover, administration of CGRP receptor antagonists aborts the headache. Recent immunohistochemical and pharmacological results suggest that the trigeminal system has receptors for CGRP; further, 5-HT1B/1D receptors, which The present review provides an updated analysis of the basic mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of migraine and the various pharmacological approaches (including 5-HT1B/1D receptor agonists. CGRP receptor antagonists and glutamate receptor antagonists) that have shown efficacy for the acute treatment of this disorder. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)319-333
Number of pages15
JournalPharmacology & Therapeutics
Volume136
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Research programs

  • EMC COEUR-09

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