Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
. 2007 Nov;27(11):1293-300.
doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2982.2007.01476.x.

Serotonin and Migraine: Biology and Clinical Implications

Affiliations
Review

Serotonin and Migraine: Biology and Clinical Implications

E Hamel. Cephalalgia. .

Abstract

Migraine is the most frequent neurological disorder in the adult population worldwide, affecting up to 12% of the general population and more frequent in women ( approximately 25%). It has a high impact on our society due to its disabling nature and, therein, reduced quality of life and increased absenteeism from work. Headache is the primary clinical manifestation and it has been associated with 'a hereditary or predisposed sensitivity of neurovascular reactions to certain stimuli or to cyclic changes in the central nervous system' (1). Amongst the many neurotransmitters in the brain, the serotonergic (serotonin, 5-HT) system from the brainstem raphe nucleus has been most convincingly implicated in migraine pathophysiology. The documented changes in 5-HT metabolism and in the processing of central 5-HT-mediated responses during and in between migraine attacks have led to the suggestion that migraine is a consequence of a central neurochemical imbalance that involves a low serotonergic disposition. Although the exact cascade of events that link abnormal serotonergic neurotransmission to the manifestation of head pain and the accompanying symptoms has yet to be fully understood, recent evidence suggests that a low 5-HT state facilitates activation of the trigeminovascular nociceptive pathway, as induced by cortical spreading depression. In this short review, we present and discuss the original and most recent findings that support a role for altered serotonergic neurotransmission in the manifestation of migraine headache.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 84 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback