Oxidative stress is associated with migraine and migraine-related metabolic risk in females

Eur J Neurol. 2011 Oct;18(10):1233-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2011.03414.x. Epub 2011 Apr 23.


Background and purpose: Oxidative stress is discussed to be implicated in the pathophysiology of migraine. However, data are in part controversial and the possible underlying mechanisms remain elusive to date. The aim of this study was to investigate the oxidative stress status of female patients with migraine and its implications on migraine-related metabolic alterations.

Methods: Oxidative stress markers malondialdehyde (MDA), 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (HNE), carbonylated proteins, parameters of associated nitric oxide stress, inflammation, lipid- and glucose-metabolism were determined in the interictal phase in female patients with migraine and controls.

Results: We found significantly increased HNE levels in female migraineurs compared with controls. Logistic regression analyses of HNE revealed an odds ratio for migraine of 4.55. HNE showed significant correlations with the nitric oxide pathway, the insulin- and the lipid-metabolism.

Conclusions: We show here that increased oxidative stress is associated with migraine and contributes to migraine-related metabolic risk like nitrosative stress, an atherogenic lipid profile and hyperinsulinemia. Our data suggest that oxidative stress may represent a key event in the pathophysiology of migraine and a suitable therapeutic target.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / epidemiology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology
  • Migraine Disorders / metabolism*
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Characteristics