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Cephalalgia. 2017 Mar;37(3):251-264. doi: 10.1177/0333102416640501. Epub 2016 Jul 11.

Serotonergic mechanisms in the migraine brain - a systematic review.

Author information

1
1 Danish Headache Center, Department of Neurology, The Neuroscience Centre, Rigshospitalet, Denmark.
2
2 Neurobiology Research Unit and Center for Experimental Medicine Neuropharmacology, Department of Neurology, The Neuroscience Centre, Rigshospitalet, Denmark.
3
3 Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Abstract

Background Migraine is one of the most common and disabling of all medical conditions, affecting 16% of the general population, causing huge socioeconomic costs globally. Current available treatment options are inadequate. Serotonin is a key molecule in the neurobiology of migraine, but the exact role of brain serotonergic mechanisms remains a matter of controversy. Methods We systematically searched PubMed for studies investigating the serotonergic system in the migraine brain by either molecular neuroimaging or electrophysiological methods. Results The literature search resulted in 59 papers, of which 13 were eligible for review. The reviewed papers collectively support the notion that migraine patients have alterations in serotonergic neurotransmission. Most likely, migraine patients have a low cerebral serotonin level between attacks, which elevates during a migraine attack. Conclusion This review suggests that novel methods of investigating the serotonergic system in the migraine brain are warranted. Uncovering the serotonergic mechanisms in migraine pathophysiology could prove useful for the development of future migraine drugs.

KEYWORDS:

Serotonin; brain; electrophysiology; molecular imaging; neurobiology of migraine

PMID:
27013238
DOI:
10.1177/0333102416640501
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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