Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

Cyclic changes of sensory parameters in migraine patients


Migraine shows a cyclic pattern with an inter-ictal-, a pre-ictal, an ictal- and a post-ictal phase. We aimed to examine changes in psychophysical parameters during the migraine cycle.


The perception of nociceptive and non-nociceptive stimuli and an electrically induced axon-reflex-erythema were assessed in 20 healthy controls and 14 migraine patients on five consecutive days according to different phases of the migraine cycle. Pain was rated three times during a 10-second electrical stimulus. The size of the axon-reflex-erythema was determined using laser-Doppler-imaging. Intensity and hedonic estimates of odours presented by Sniffin' Sticks were rated.


In healthy controls, no significant changes over the test days were observed. In migraine patients pain thresholds at the head decreased with an ictal minimum. Less habituation after five seconds of stimulation at the head was found pre-ictally, whereas reduced habituation to 10-second electrical stimulation was present in all phases. The axon-reflex-erythema size showed an inter-ictal-specific minimum at the head. odours were perceived ictally as more unpleasant and intense.


Somatosensory functions, pain thresholds and habituation as predominantly central parameters, axon-reflex-erythema as a peripheral function of trigeminal neurons and odour perception as a predominantly extra-thalamic sensation change specifically over the migraine cycle indicating complex variations of neuronal signal processing.


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