Neuroimaging clues of migraine aura

J Headache Pain. 2019 Apr 3;20(1):32. doi: 10.1186/s10194-019-0983-2.


While migraine headaches can be provoked, or predicted by the presence of an aura or premonitory symptoms, the prediction or elicitation of the aura itself is more problematic. Therefore, imaging studies directly examining the aura phenomenon are sparse. There are however interictal imaging studies that can shed light on the pathophysiology of the migraine with aura (MWA) cascade. Here, we review findings pointing to the involvement of cortical spreading depression (CSD) and neuroinflammation in MWA. Whether asymptomatic CSD also happens in some migraine without aura is still under debate. In addition, new evidence points to glial activation in MWA, indicating the involvement of astrocytes in the neuroinflammatory cascade that follows CSD, as well as dural macrophages, supporting the involvement of the trigeminovascular system in migraine pain.

Keywords: (3–10): Migraine; Aura; Brain imaging; CSD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cortical Spreading Depression*
  • Epilepsy
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders
  • Migraine with Aura / diagnostic imaging*
  • Migraine with Aura / physiopathology
  • Neuroglia / physiology*
  • Neuroimaging*