Cluster headache and TACs: state of the art

Neurol Sci. 2020 Dec;41(Suppl 2):367-375. doi: 10.1007/s10072-020-04639-4.


Cluster headache (CH), paroxysmal hemicrania (PH), short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks (including SUNCT and SUNA), and hemicrania continua (HC) compose the group of trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias (TACs). Here, we review the recent advances in the field and summarize the current knowledge about the origin of these headaches. Similar to the other primary headaches, the pathogenesis is still much obscure. However, advances are being made in both animal models and humans studies. Three structures clearly appear to be crucial in the pathophysiology of TACs: the trigeminal nerve, the facial parasympathetic system, and the hypothalamus. The physiologic and pathologic functioning of each of these elements and their interactions is being progressively clarified, but critical questions are still open.

Keywords: CGRP; Cluster headache; Headache; PACAP; Trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cluster Headache* / diagnosis
  • Cluster Headache* / therapy
  • Headache
  • Humans
  • Paroxysmal Hemicrania*
  • SUNCT Syndrome*
  • Trigeminal Autonomic Cephalalgias* / diagnosis
  • Trigeminal Autonomic Cephalalgias* / therapy