Metabolic assessment of a migraine model using relaxation-enhanced 1 H spectroscopy at ultrahigh field

Magn Reson Med. 2018 Mar;79(3):1266-1275. doi: 10.1002/mrm.26811. Epub 2017 Sep 17.


Purpose: This study evaluates biochemical imbalances in a rat model that reflects dysfunctional pathways in migraine. The high sensitivity and spectral dispersion available to 1 H MRS at 21.1 T expands metabolic profiling in this migraine model to include lactate (Lac), taurine (Tau), aspartate, and Gly-a mixture of glycine, glutamine, and glutamate.

Methods: Sprague-Dawley male rats were administered in situ an intraperitoneal injection of nitroglycerin (NTG) to induce the migraine analogue or saline as a control. A selective relaxation-enhanced MR spectroscopy sequence was used to target upfield metabolites from a 4-mm3 voxel for 2.5 h after injection.

Results: Significant increases were evident for Lac as early as 10 min after NTG injection, peaking over 50% compared with baseline and control (normalized Lac/N-acetyl aspartate with NTG = 1.54 ± 0.65 versus with saline = 0.99 ± 0.08). Tau decreased progressively in controls over 2 h after injection, but remained elevated with NTG, peaking at 105 min after injection (normalized Tau/N-acetyl aspartate with NTG = 1.10 ± 0.18 versus with saline = 0.85 ± 0.14). Total creatine under NTG showed significant decreases with time and compared with saline; Gly demonstrated temporal increases for NTG.

Conclusions: These changes indicate an altered metabolic profile in the migraine analogue consistent with early changes in neural activity and/or vasodilation consistent with progressively enhanced neuroprotection and osmoregulation. Magn Reson Med 79:1266-1275, 2018. © 2017 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

Keywords: 1H MR spectroscopy; high magnetic field; lactate; migraine; nitroglycerin; taurine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Lactic Acid / analysis
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Metabolome / physiology
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Migraine Disorders / diagnostic imaging*
  • Migraine Disorders / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Taurine / analysis
  • Taurine / metabolism


  • Taurine
  • Lactic Acid