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Brain Res. 1993 Nov 26;629(1):95-102.

Expression of c-Fos-like immunoreactivity in the caudal medulla and upper cervical spinal cord following stimulation of the superior sagittal sinus in the cat.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Prince Henry Hospital, Little Bay, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


Migraine is an episodic vascular headache with a well-recognized clinical picture but a poorly understood pathogenesis. Stimulation of a pain-sensitive trigeminally innervated intracranial structure, the superior sagittal sinus (SSS), was undertaken to map the higher-order neurons potentially involved in the processing of vascular head pain. The animals were prepared for stimulation by exposure of the sinus and then maintained under alpha-chloralose anaesthesia for 24 h before SSS stimulation, perfusion and immunohistochemical processing for the detection of Fos protein. Examination of the medulla and upper cervical cord revealed marked increases in Fos-like immunoreactivity in laminae I and IIo of the trigeminal nucleus caudalis and the dorsal horn of the upper cervical spinal cord. In addition, Fos-like immunoreactivity was observed in lamina X of the upper cervical spinal cord, in the commissural and medial nuclei of the solitary tract and in the nucleus retroambigualis. The use of immunohistochemical detection of Fos has allowed visualization of several populations of neurons likely to be involved in the central neural processing of vascular headache syndromes, particularly migraine.

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