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Neurobiol Dis. 2014 Aug;68:200-14. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2014.03.008. Epub 2014 Mar 21.

Sex and the migraine brain.

Author information

1
Boston Children's Hospital P.A.I.N. Group, Boston Children's Hospital, USA; Massachusestts General Hospital, Boston Children's Hospital, USA; Harvard Medical School, USA. Electronic address: david.borsook@childrens.harvard.edu.
2
Boston Children's Hospital P.A.I.N. Group, Boston Children's Hospital, USA; Harvard Medical School, USA.
3
Boston Children's Hospital P.A.I.N. Group, Boston Children's Hospital, USA; Headache Clinic, Boston Children's Hospital, USA; Harvard Medical School, USA.
4
Boston Children's Hospital P.A.I.N. Group, Boston Children's Hospital, USA; Massachusestts General Hospital, Boston Children's Hospital, USA; Harvard Medical School, USA.
5
Fetal-Neonatal Neuroimaging and Developmental Science Center (FNNDSC), Boston Children's Hospital, USA; Harvard Medical School, USA.
6
Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, USA; Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, USA; Harvard Medical School, USA.
7
Harvard Medical School, USA.

Abstract

The brain responds differently to environmental and internal signals that relate to the stage of development of neural systems. While genetic and epigenetic factors contribute to a premorbid state, hormonal fluctuations in women may alter the set point of migraine. The cyclic surges of gonadal hormones may directly alter neuronal, glial and astrocyte function throughout the brain. Estrogen is mainly excitatory and progesterone inhibitory on brain neuronal systems. These changes contribute to the allostatic load of the migraine condition that most notably starts at puberty in girls.

KEYWORDS:

Allostatic load; Cortical spreading depression; Estrogen; Gonadotrophins; Headache; Hypothalamus; Menstrual cycle; Pain; Progesterone; Puberty; Sleep; Trigeminal; Women

PMID:
24662368
PMCID:
PMC4171725
DOI:
10.1016/j.nbd.2014.03.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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