Does inflammation have a role in migraine?

Nat Rev Neurol. 2019 Aug;15(8):483-490. doi: 10.1038/s41582-019-0216-y. Epub 2019 Jul 1.


Migraine is a prevalent disorder, affecting 15.1% of the world's population. In most cases, the migraine attacks are sporadic; however, some individuals experience a gradual increase in attack frequency over time, and up to 2% of the general population develop chronic migraine. The mechanisms underlying this chronicity are unresolved but are hypothesized to involve a degree of inflammation. In this article, we review the relevant literature related to inflammation and migraine, from the initiation of attacks to chronification. We propose that the increase in migraine frequency leading to chronic migraine involves neurogenic neuroinflammation, possibly entailing increased expression of cytokines via activation of protein kinases in neurons and glial cells of the trigeminovascular system. We present evidence from preclinical research that supports this view and discuss the implications for migraine therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Cytokines / physiology
  • Disease Progression
  • Encephalitis / complications
  • Encephalitis / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / complications
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Neuroglia / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology


  • Cytokines