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Cephalalgia. 2008 Oct;28(10):1069-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2982.2008.01672.x. Epub 2008 Aug 22.

Olfactory hypersensitivity in migraineurs: a H(2)(15)O-PET study.

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Service de Neurologie, Hôpital de la Croix-Rousse; INSERM, U821, Université Claude-Bernard, Institut Fédératif des Neurosciences de Lyon, Lyon, France.


Olfactory hypersensitivity (OHS) may occur during migraine attacks and seems to be very specific to this form of headache. OHS is also observed during migraine-free periods and is associated with the presence of odour-triggered attacks. Yet the pathophysiology of OHS remains unknown. The aim of our study was to evaluate olfactory processing in migraineurs with OHS and to investigate whether regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) associated with olfactory stimulation is modified in these patients compared with controls. Eleven migraineurs with OHS and 12 controls participated in a H(2)(15)O-positron emission tomography study, including three scans in which odours were delivered and three scans where only odourless air was delivered. rCBF during olfactory condition was compared with that for the odourless baseline condition. Between-group analyses were performed using voxel-based and region-of-interest analyses. During both olfactory and non-olfactory conditions, we observed higher rCBF in the left piriform cortex and antero-superior temporal gyrus in migraineurs compared with controls. During odour stimulation, migraineurs also showed significantly higher activation than controls in the left temporal pole and significantly lower activation in the frontal (left inferior as well as left and right middle frontal gyri) and temporo-parietal (left and right angular, and right posterior superior temporal gyri) regions, posterior cingulate gyrus and right locus coeruleus. These results could reflect a particular role of both the piriform cortex and antero-superior temporal gyrus in OHS and odour-triggered migraine. Whether these rCBF changes are the cause or a consequence of odour-triggered migraines and interictal OHS remains unknown. Further comparisons between migraineurs with and without OHS are warranted to address this issue. The abnormal cerebral activation patterns during olfactory stimulation might reflect altered cerebrovascular response to olfactory stimulation due to the migraine disease, or an abnormal top-down regulation process related to OHS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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