Changes in visual-evoked potential habituation induced by hyperventilation in migraine

J Headache Pain. 2010 Dec;11(6):497-503. doi: 10.1007/s10194-010-0239-7. Epub 2010 Jul 13.


Hyperventilation is often associated with stress, an established trigger factor for migraine. Between attacks, migraine is associated with a deficit in habituation to visual-evoked potentials (VEP) that worsens just before the attack. Hyperventilation slows electroencephalographic (EEG) activity and decreases the functional response in the occipital cortex during visual stimulation. The neural mechanisms underlying deficient-evoked potential habituation in migraineurs remain unclear. To find out whether hyperventilation alters VEP habituation, we recorded VEPs before and after experimentally induced hyperventilation lasting 3 min in 18 healthy subjects and 18 migraine patients between attacks. We measured VEP P100 amplitudes in six sequential blocks of 100 sweeps and habituation as the change in amplitude over the six blocks. In healthy subjects, hyperventilation decreased VEP amplitude in block 1 and abolished the normal VEP habituation. In migraine patients, hyperventilation further decreased the already low block 1 amplitude and worsened the interictal habituation deficit. Hyperventilation worsens the habituation deficit in migraineurs possibly by increasing dysrhythmia in the brainstem-thalamo-cortical network.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology*
  • Female
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hyperventilation / complications*
  • Hyperventilation / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Migraine Disorders / etiology*
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Visual Cortex / metabolism
  • Visual Cortex / physiopathology*