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Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2018 Apr;21(Suppl 1):S51-S56. doi: 10.4103/aian.AIAN_357_17.

Functional Neuroimaging in Trigeminal Autonomic Cephalalgias.

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Center for Neurology, Asklepios Hospitals Schildautal, Seesen, Germany.
Department of Neurology and Westgerman Headache Center, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany.


Functional neuroimaging was able to identify key structures for the pathophysiology of trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias (TACs) including cluster headache, paroxysmal hemicrania, and short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks with conjunctival injection and tearing or cranial autonomic features and hemicrania continua. The posterior hypothalamus was the structure most consistently depicted with functional imaging in different states of disease with and without pain. Network-oriented imaging techniques such as resting-state functional resonance imaging were able to show a broader involvement of human trigeminal pain processing in the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms of the different TACs, highlighting similarities between this distinct group of primary headache disorders, while also demonstrating the differences in brain activation across these disorders. The most important clinical assignment for neuroimaging research from the treating physician remains the objective and reliable distinction of each individual TAC syndrome from one another, to make the correct clinical diagnosis as the foundation for proper treatment. More research will be necessary to fulfill this unmet need.


Cluster headache; functional imaging; magnetic resonance imaging; paroxysmal hemicrania; short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks with conjunctival injection and tearing; trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias

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