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J Neurosci. 2013 May 15;33(20):8827-40. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0439-13.2013.

Paraventricular hypothalamic regulation of trigeminovascular mechanisms involved in headaches.

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Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale/Université Paris Descartes UMR 894, Centre de Psychiatrie et Neurosciences, 75014 Paris, France.


While functional imaging and deep brain stimulation studies point to a pivotal role of the hypothalamus in the pathophysiology of migraine and trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias, the circuitry and the mechanisms underlying the modulation of medullary trigeminovascular (Sp5C) neurons have not been fully identified. We investigated the existence of a direct anatomo-functional relationship between hypothalamic excitability disturbances and modifications of the activities of Sp5C neurons in the rat. Anterograde and retrograde neuronal anatomical tracing, intrahypothalamic microinjections, extracellular single-unit recordings of Sp5C neurons, and behavioral trials were used in this study. We found that neurons of the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN) send descending projections to the superior salivatory nucleus, a region that gives rise to parasympathetic outflow to cephalic and ocular/nasal structures. PVN cells project also to laminae I and outer II of the Sp5C. Microinjections of the GABAA agonist muscimol into PVN inhibit both basal and meningeal-evoked activities of Sp5C neurons. Such inhibitions were reduced in acutely restrained stressed rats. GABAA antagonist gabazine infusions into the PVN facilitate meningeal-evoked responses of Sp5C neurons. PVN injections of the neuropeptide pituitary adenylate cyclase activating peptide (PACAP38) enhance Sp5C basal activities, whereas the antagonist PACAP6-38 depresses all types of Sp5C activities. 5-HT1B/D receptor agonist naratriptan infusion confined to the PVN depresses both basal and meningeal-evoked Sp5C activities. Our findings suggest that paraventricular hypothalamic neurons directly control both spontaneous and evoked activities of Sp5C neurons and could act either as modulators or triggers of migraine and/or trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias by integrating nociceptive, autonomic, and stress processing mechanisms.

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