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Agri. 2017 Jul;29(3):95-99. doi: 10.5505/agri.2017.25348.

Cortisol and migraine: A systematic literature review.

Author information

1
Service of Clinical Governance, General Hospital of Trento, Trento, Italy. camilla.mattiuzzi@apss.tn.it.

Abstract

Migraine is a highly prevalent and disabling disorder. Because stress appears to be a prominent trigger of this condition and cortisol is a well-established stress hormone, we performed a search on Medline, Scopus, and Web of Science to identify clinical studies that assessed cortisol levels in migraineurs. Four cross-section studies, one observational study, and three both cross-sectional and observational studies were finally included in our analysis. The heterogeneity was modest for the sample size (49.8%) but was remarkably high for a sample matrix (66.0%), thus precluding the possibility to meta-analyze the data. In six of the seven cross-sectional studies, cortisol levels did not differ between the cases and controls. With regard to the four observational trials, both nitroglycerine and human corticotropin-releasing hormone but not m-chlorophenylpiperazine were effective in generating a more prominent cortisol release in migraineurs than in controls. In a fourth observation trial, salivary cortisol did not differ during the migraine attack and during the migraine free-period. In conclusion, even if altered corticotrope responsiveness exists in migraineurs, it appears to be irrelevant in the pathogenesis of migraine.

PMID:
29039159
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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