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Cephalalgia. 2017 Dec;37(14):1329-1336. doi: 10.1177/0333102416678624. Epub 2016 Nov 15.

Hippocampus and amygdala volume in relation to migraine frequency and prognosis.

Liu HY1,2,3, Chou KH4, Lee PL5, Fuh JL2,3, Niddam DM1,4,6, Lai KL2,7, Hsiao FJ4, Lin YY1,2,3,4, Chen WT1,2,3,4, Wang SJ1,2,3,4, Lin CP5,8.

Author information

1 Institute of Brain Science, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.
2 School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.
3 Department of Neurology, Neurological Institute, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.
4 Brain Research Center, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.
5 Department of Biomedical Imaging and Radiological Sciences, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.
6 Laboratory of Integrated Brain Research, Department of Medical Research and Education, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.
7 Department of Neurology, Taipei Municipal Gandau Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.
8 Institute of Neuroscience, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.


Objectives To investigate the structural changes of hippocampus and amygdala and their relationships with migraine frequency and prognosis. Methods Hippocampus and amygdala volumes were measured by 3-T brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in 31 controls and 122 migraine patients who were categorized into eight groups by headache frequency: group 1 (1-2 headache days/month), 2 (3-4), 3 (5-7), 4 (8-10), 5 (11-14), 6 (15-19), 7 (20-24), and 8 (25-30). Headache frequency was reassessed 2 years later and a frequency reduction ≥50% was regarded a good outcome. Results Hippocampus and amygdala volumes fluctuated in patient groups but did not differ from the controls. In migraine patients, the bilateral hippocampus volumes peaked in group 3. The volumes and headache frequencies correlated positively in groups 2-3 on bilateral sides (L: r = 0.44, p = 0.007; R: r = 0.35, p = 0.037), and negatively in groups 3-7 on the left side (5-24 days/month; L: r = -0.31, p = 0.004) and groups 3-8 on the right side ( r = -0.31, p = 0.002). The left amygdala volume also peaked in group 3, and correlated with headache frequency in groups 1-3 ( r = 0.34, p = 0.020) and groups 3-6 ( r = -0.30, p = 0.012). The volumetric changes of the right amygdala with headache frequency did not reach statistical significance. At 2-year follow-up, the right hippocampus volume was positively associated with a good migraine outcome after adjustment of headache frequency (OR 4.72, p = 0.024). Conclusions Hippocampus and amygdala display a structural plasticity linked to both headache frequency and clinical outcome of migraine.


Migraine; amygdala; headache frequency; hippocampus; stress

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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