In Brief: Researchers explore the connection between migraine headache and movement

Contact: Written by: Jacqueline Mitchell

MARCH 11, 2024

A study led by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) offers new insights into migraine pain mechanisms, particularly the emergence of worsening migraine headaches with movement. The findings offer a potential mechanism that may explain this clinical phenomenon.

Using a novel imaging approach in mice, researchers explored the impact of migraine-related cortical spreading depolarization on the firing of sensory nerves innervating the meninges that cover and protect the brain, whose activation is considered the putative source of migraine-related pain.

The team identified sensitization of meningeal afferent fibers to small meningeal deformations associated with movement as a potential neural substrate underlying migraine headache exacerbation during normal physical activities.

The team also observed an acute, slow wave of elevated calcium activity propagating across meningeal sensory nerves and along their length in response to cortical spreading depolarization that could mediate the local neuroinflammatory response and subsequent afferent sensitization implicated in migraine pathophysiology.

Read the full paper in eLife.

BIDMC study authors: Andrew S Blaeser (lead), Jun Zhao, Arthur U Sugden, Simone Carneiro-Nascimento, Mark L Andermann (co-corresponding), Dan Levy (co-corresponding)

COI: The authors declare that no competing interests exist

Citation: Andrew S Blaeser, Jun Zhao, Arthur U Sugden, Simone Carneiro-Nascimento, Mark L Andermann, Dan Levy (2024) Sensitization of meningeal afferents to locomotion-related meningeal deformations in a migraine model eLife 12:RP91871

About Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a leading academic medical center, where extraordinary care is supported by high-quality education and research. BIDMC is a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and consistently ranks as a national leader among independent hospitals in National Institutes of Health funding. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, a health care system that brings together academic medical centers and teaching hospitals, community and specialty hospitals, more than 4,700 physicians and 39,000 employees in a shared mission to expand access to great care and advance the science and practice of medicine through groundbreaking research and education.