Migraine is a paroxysmal neurovascular disorder, which affects a significant proportion of the population. Since dilation of cranial blood vessels is likely to be responsible for the headache experienced in migraine, many experimental models for the study of migraine have focussed on this feature. The current review discusses a model that is based on the constriction of carotid arteriovenous anastomoses in anaesthetized pigs, which has during the last decades proven of great value in identifying potential antimigraine drugs acting via a vascular mechanism. Further, the use of human isolated blood vessels in migraine research is discussed. Thirdly, we describe an integrated neurovascular model, where dural vasodilatation in response to trigeminal perivascular nerve stimulation can be studied. Such a model not only allows an in-depth characterization of directly vascularly acting drugs, but also of drugs that are supposed to act via inhibition of vasodilator responses to endogenous neuropeptides, or of drugs that inhibit the release of these neuropeptides. We discuss the use of this model in a study on the influence of female sex hormones on migraine. Finally, the implementation of this model in mice is considered. Such a murine model allows the use of genetically modified animals, which will lead to a better understanding of the ion channel mutations that are found in migraine patients. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.