Di Clemente, L. et al. Interictal habituation deficit of the nociceptive blink reflex: an endophenotypic marker for presymptomatic migraine? Brain 130, 765-770

Headache Research Unit, University Department of Neurology, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium.
Brain (Impact Factor: 9.2). 04/2007; 130(Pt 3):765-70. DOI: 10.1093/brain/awl351
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Habituation of the nociception-specific blink reflex (nBR) is reduced interictally in migraine patients. This could be related to the habituation deficit of evoked cortical responses, a reproducible abnormality in migraine which has a familial character, or to central trigeminal sensitization due to repeated attacks. We compared nBR habituation in healthy volunteers devoid of personal or family history of migraine (HV), in migraine without aura patients (MO) and in healthy volunteers with a family history of migraine in first degree relatives (HV-F). We elicited the nBR by stimulating the right supraorbital region with a custom-built electrode in 16 MO between attacks, 15 HV and 14 HV-F. Habituation was measured as the percentage area-under-the-curve decrease in 10 consecutive blocks of five averaged rectified responses. nBR habituation was clearly reduced in MO and HV-F compared to HV. Percentage area under the curve decreased between the 1st and the 10th block by 55.01% in HV, 25.71% in MO (P = 0.001) and 26.73% in HV-F (P = 0.043). HV-F had the most pronounced abnormality with potentiation instead of habituation in the second block. We found a positive intraindividual correlation between attack frequency and habituation in MO (r = 0.621; P = 0.010). Migraine patients have interictally a deficient habituation of the nBR which is inversely related to attack frequency, suggesting that it is not due to trigeminal sensitization. Surprisingly, the most pronounced habituation deficit is found in asymptomatic individuals with a family history of migraine. Deficient nBR habituation could thus be a trait marker for the genetic predisposition to migraine.

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Available from: Laura Di Clemente, Sep 26, 2015
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    • "We recorded 16 rectified EMG responses that were averaged off-line. As previously described, the first response of each nBR recording session was excluded from the signal analysis to avoid contamination with startle responses [30], [31], [32]. The remaining 15 sweeps were averaged in 3 sequential blocks of 5 responses. "
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    ABSTRACT: Bright light can cause excessive visual discomfort, referred to as photophobia. The precise mechanisms linking luminance to the trigeminal nociceptive system supposed to mediate this discomfort are not known. To address this issue in healthy human subjects we modulated differentially visual cortex activity by repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) or flash light stimulation, and studied the effect on supraorbital pain thresholds and the nociceptive-specific blink reflex (nBR). Low frequency rTMS that inhibits the underlying cortex, significantly decreased pain thresholds, increased the 1st nBR block ipsi- and contralaterally and potentiated habituation contralaterally. After high frequency or sham rTMS over the visual cortex, and rMS over the right greater occipital nerve we found no significant change. By contrast, excitatory flash light stimulation increased pain thresholds, decreased the 1st nBR block of ipsi- and contralaterally and increased habituation contralaterally. Our data demonstrate in healthy subjects a functional relation between the visual cortex and the trigeminal nociceptive system, as assessed by the nociceptive blink reflex. The results argue in favour of a top-down inhibitory pathway from the visual areas to trigemino-cervical nociceptors. We postulate that in normal conditions this visuo-trigeminal inhibitory pathway may avoid disturbance of vision by too frequent blinking and that hypoactivity of the visual cortex for pathological reasons may promote headache and photophobia.
    PLoS ONE 06/2014; 9(6):e100198. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0100198 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "However, lack of clinical features of migraine or other types of primary headache in FH group suggests that the amplitude asymmetry of blood pulsations indicates less significant deviation from the normal blood supply than the temporal asymmetry, and may probably indicate a predisposition to migraine. Moreover, not all subjects of the FH group are genetically predisposed to migraine [22]. The combination of the two types of asymmetry perhaps is needed to be associated with typical migraine. "
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    ABSTRACT: Asymmetrical changes in blood perfusion and asynchronous blood supply to head tissues likely contribute to migraine pathophysiology. Imaging was widely used in order to understand hemodynamic variations in migraine. However, mapping of blood pulsations in the face of migraineurs has not been performed so far. We used the Blood Pulsation Imaging (BPI) technique, which was recently developed in our group, to establish whether 2D-imaging of blood pulsations parameters can reveal new biomarkers of migraine. BPI characteristics were measured in migraineurs during the attack-free interval and compared to healthy subjects with and without a family history of migraine. We found a novel phenomenon of transverse waves of facial blood perfusion in migraineurs in contrast to healthy subjects who showed synchronous blood delivery to both sides of the face. Moreover, the amplitude of blood pulsations was symmetrically distributed over the face of healthy subjects, but asymmetrically in migraineurs and subjects with a family history of migraine. In the migraine patients we found a remarkable correlation between the side of unilateral headache and the direction of the blood perfusion wave. Our data suggest that migraine is associated with lateralization of blood perfusion and asynchronous blood pulsations in the facial area, which could be due to essential dysfunction of the autonomic vascular control in the face. These findings may further enhance our understanding of migraine pathophysiology and suggest new easily available biomarkers of this pathology.
    PLoS ONE 12/2013; 8(12):e80189. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0080189 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Besides the innocuous evoked potentials, researchers have verified if the same habituation deficit might exist after noxious stimulation. The blink reflex (BR) obtained after supraorbital stimulation with a so-called “nociception-specific” electrode, a way to more specifically explore trigeminal nucleus caudalis activation, discloses an interictal habituation deficit during short [60,61] as well as long time courses [44,62]. Amplitude and habituation of another brainstem reflex, the click-evoked vestibulocollic reflex, was equally reduced in migraineurs between attacks compared with healthy subjects [63,64]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The phenomena of habituation and sensitization are considered most useful for studying the neuronal substrates of information processing in the CNS. Both were studied in primary headaches, that are functional disorders of the brain characterized by an abnormal responsivity to any kind of incoming innocuous or painful stimuli and it's cycling pattern over time (interictal, pre-ictal, ictal). The present review summarizes available data on stimulus responsivity in primary headaches obtained with clinical neurophysiology. In migraine, the majority of electrophysiological studies between attacks have shown that, for a number of different sensory modalities, the brain is characterised by a lack of habituation of evoked responses to repeated stimuli. This abnormal processing of the incoming information reaches its maximum a few days before the beginning of an attack, and normalizes during the attack, at a time when sensitization may also manifest itself. An abnormal rhythmic activity between thalamus and cortex, namely thalamocortical dysrhythmia, may be the pathophysiological mechanism subtending abnormal information processing in migraine. In tension-type headache (TTH), only few signs of deficient habituation were observed only in subgroups of patients. By contrast, using grand-average responses indirect evidence for sensitization has been found in chronic TTH with increased nociceptive specific reflexes and evoked potentials. Generalized increased sensitivity to pain (lower thresholds and increased pain rating) and a dysfunction in supraspinal descending pain control systems may contribute to the development and/or maintenance of central sensitization in chronic TTH. Cluster headache patients are chrarcterized during the bout and on the headache side by a pronounced lack of habituation of the brainstem blink reflex and a general sensitization of pain processing. A better insight into the nature of these ictal/interictal electrophysiological dysfunctions in primary headaches paves the way for novel therapeutic targets and may allow a better understanding of the mode of action of available therapies.
    The Journal of Headache and Pain 07/2013; 14(1):65. DOI:10.1186/1129-2377-14-65 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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