Migraine & paediatric obesity: a plausible link?

Indian J Med Res. 2014 Mar;139(3):343-8.


Obesity and migraine are both highly prevalent disorders in the general population, influenced by genetic and environmental risk factors. In recent studies, obesity was found to be a strong risk factor for transformed migraine and, among migraineurs, obesity was associated with frequent headaches and higher disability scores. Suggested mechanisms included: (i) obesity as a pro-inflammatory state may be associated with neurovascular inflammation in patients with migraine; (ii) elevated levels of plasma calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) in obese individuals may play a role as an important post-synaptic mediator of trigeminovascular inflammation in migraine; (iii) dismodulation in the hypothalamic neuropeptide, orexin, in obese persons may be associated with increased susceptibility to neurogenic inflammation causing migraine attacks; and (iv) leptin and adiponectin can activate proinflammatory cytokine release that is involved in the pathogenesis of migraine. In addition, both conditions are associated with psychiatric co-morbidities, such as depression and anxiety, that can further increase headache frequency and disability. Therefore, the effect of obesity on migraine outcome is important. Weight and BMI should be measured and calculated in all children presenting with migraine, and weight control should be a part of the treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / metabolism
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide / blood
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Leptin / metabolism
  • Migraine Disorders / complications*
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Neurogenic Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism
  • Orexins
  • Pediatric Obesity / complications*
  • Pediatric Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Pediatric Obesity / metabolism
  • Pediatric Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Loss / physiology


  • Adiponectin
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Leptin
  • Neuropeptides
  • Orexins
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide