Migraine and circle of Willis anomalies.

Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, 3400 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, United States.
Medical Hypotheses (Impact Factor: 1.18). 02/2008; 70(4):860-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2007.05.057
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Several mechanisms are currently thought to contribute to migraine pathogenesis, including interictal neuronal hyperexcitability, cortical spreading depression underlying the symptom of aura, and trigeminal nerve activation at a peripheral and central level. However, these mechanistic concepts incompletely explain migraine susceptibility in individual patients and do not fully account for the well documented association between migraine and ischemic cerebrovascular disease, including increased risk of both clinical stroke and subclinical brain lesions in migraine patients. The circle of Willis is a major source of collateral blood flow supply in the human brain, and developmental morphologic variants of the circle of Willis are extremely frequent. Altered cerebral blood flow (CBF) has been demonstrated in regions supplied by variant circle of Willis vessels. Our central hypothesis is that circle of Willis anomalies correlate with alterations in cerebral hemodynamics and contribute to migraine susceptibility and ischemic complications of migraine. Dysregulation of CBF may allow relative ischemia to develop in the setting of increased metabolic demand related to neuronal hyperexcitability, may trigger cortical spreading depression, and may predispose individuals with migraine to ischemic lesions and stroke. Identification of structural alterations in the cerebral vasculature in migraine patients would have several important pathophysiological and clinical implications. First, it would provide a developmental mechanism for migraine susceptibility that may lead to further insights into genetic predisposition to migraine. Second, it would expand understanding of potential mechanisms underlying migraine aura and linking migraine with both clinical and subclinical cerebral infarction. Third, it could help to identify the subpopulation of patients at risk of progressive cerebral ischemia so as to target preventative therapies appropriately. Fourth, it would suggest a role for further diagnostic evaluation to determine migraine mechanism in individual patients, analogous to the current paradigm in ischemic stroke in which determination of stroke mechanism is critical to therapeutic decision-making.

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    ABSTRACT: The circle of Willis is an important source of collateral blood flow to maintain adequate cerebral perfusion, particularly in the posterior circulation. Some studies report a relationship between incomplete circle of Willis and migraine, whereas other studies show no difference between the prevalence of incomplete circle of Willis in migraineurs and controls. In the present study we compared the prevalence of incomplete circle of Willis in female migraine patients without aura to female healthy non-migraine controls.Using 3-Tesla magnetic resonance angiography we recorded three-dimensional time-of-flight angiograms in 85 female participants (48 migraine patients without aura [median age 28 years] and 37 healthy controls [median age 25 years]). The images were subsequently analysed blindly by a neuroradiologist to detect incomplete circle of Willis.
    The journal of headache and pain. 05/2014; 15(1):27.
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    ABSTRACT: The Cerebral Circle Region, also known as the Circle of Willis (CoW), is a loop of arteries that form arterial connections between supply arteries to distribute blood throughout the cerebral mass. Among the population, only 25% to 50% have a complete system of arteries forming the CoW. 3D time-varying simulations for three different patient-specific artery anatomies of CoW were performed in order to gain a better insight into the phenomena existing in the cerebral blood flow. The models reconstructed on the basis of computer tomography images start from the aorta and include the largest arteries that supply the CoW and the arteries of CoW. Velocity values measured during the ultrasound examination have been compared with the results of simulations. It is shown that the flow in the right anterior artery in some cases may be supplied from the left internal carotid artery via the anterior communicating artery. The investigations conducted show that the computational fluid dynamic tool, which provides high resolution in both time and space domains, can be used to support physicians in diagnosing patients of different ages and various anatomical arterial structures.
    Journal of biomechanics 03/2014; · 2.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To compare the prevalence of an incomplete circle of Willis in patients with migraine with aura, migraine without aura, and control subjects, and correlate circle of Willis variations with alterations in cerebral perfusion. Migraine with aura, migraine without aura, and control subjects were prospectively enrolled in a 1∶1∶1 ratio. Magnetic resonance angiography was performed to examine circle of Willis anatomy and arterial spin labeled perfusion magnetic resonance imaging to measure cerebral blood flow. A standardized template rating system was used to categorize circle of Willis variants. The primary pre-specified outcome measure was the frequency of an incomplete circle of Willis. The association between circle of Willis variations and cerebral blood flow was also analyzed. 170 subjects were enrolled (56 migraine with aura, 61 migraine without aura, 53 controls). An incomplete circle of Willis was significantly more common in the migraine with aura compared to control group (73% vs. 51%, p = 0.02), with a similar trend for the migraine without aura group (67% vs. 51%, p = 0.08). Using a quantitative score of the burden of circle of Willis variants, migraine with aura subjects had a higher burden of variants than controls (p = 0.02). Compared to those with a complete circle, subjects with an incomplete circle had greater asymmetry in hemispheric cerebral blood flow (p = 0.05). Specific posterior cerebral artery variants were associated with greater asymmetries of blood flow in the posterior cerebral artery territory. An incomplete circle of Willis is more common in migraine with aura subjects than controls, and is associated with alterations in cerebral blood flow.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(7):e71007. · 3.53 Impact Factor

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