CADASIL and migraine: A narrative review

Cephalalgia. 2010 Nov;30(11):1284-9. doi: 10.1177/0333102410370870.


Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) is caused by mutations in the NOTCH3 gene and is clinically characterized by recurrent stroke, cognitive decline, psychiatric disturbances and migraine. The prevalence of migraine in CADASIL is slightly higher than in the general population, and the proportion of migraine with aura is much higher. The pathophysiological mechanism that leads to increased aura prevalence in CADASIL is unknown. Possible mechanisms of the excess of migraine with aura are an increased susceptibility to cortical spreading depression (CSD) or a different expression of CSD. It is also possible that the brainstem migraine area is involved in CADASIL. Last, it is possible that the NOTCH3 mutation acts as a migraine aura susceptibility gene by itself. In this narrative review we summarize the literature about migraine in CADASIL, with a special focus on what CADASIL might teach us about the pathophysiology of migraine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • CADASIL / complications*
  • CADASIL / epidemiology
  • CADASIL / physiopathology*
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / complications*
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology
  • Receptor, Notch3
  • Receptors, Notch / genetics


  • NOTCH3 protein, human
  • Receptor, Notch3
  • Receptors, Notch