Nat Med. 2002 Feb;8(2):136-42 doi: 10.1038/nm0202-136. 2002 Feb 01.

Intrinsic brain activity triggers trigeminal meningeal afferents in a migraine model

Bolay H, Reuter U, Dunn AK, Huang Z, Boas DA, Moskowitz MA.

Abstract

Although the trigeminal nerve innervates the meninges and participates in the genesis of migraine headaches, triggering mechanisms remain controversial and poorly understood. Here we establish a link between migraine aura and headache by demonstrating that cortical spreading depression, implicated in migraine visual aura, activates trigeminovascular afferents and evokes a series of cortical meningeal and brainstem events consistent with the development of headache. Cortical spreading depression caused long-lasting blood-flow enhancement selectively within the middle meningeal artery dependent upon trigeminal and parasympathetic activation, and plasma protein leakage within the dura mater in part by a neurokinin-1-receptor mechanism. Our findings provide a neural mechanism by which extracerebral cephalic blood flow couples to brain events; this mechanism explains vasodilation during headache and links intense neurometabolic brain activity with the transmission of headache pain by the trigeminal nerve.

PMID: 11821897