A neuronal dysfunction based on the imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory cortical-subcortical neurotransmission seems at the basis of migraine. Intercritical neuronal abnormal excitability can culminate in the bioelectrical phenomenon of Cortical Spreading Depression (CSD) with secondary involvement of the vascular system and release of inflammatory mediators, modulating in turn neuronal activity. Neuronal dysfunction encompasses the altered connectivity between the brain areas implicated in the genesis, maintenance and chronic evolution of migraine. Advanced neuroimaging techniques allow to identify changes in functional connectivity (FC) between brain areas involved in pain processes. Through a narrative review, we re-searched case-control studies on FC in migraine, between 2015 and 2020, by inserting the words migraine, fMRI, EEG, MEG, connectivity, pain in Pubmed. Studies on FC have shown that cortical processes, in the neurolimbic pain network, are likely to be prevalent for triggering attacks, in response to predisposing factors, and that these lead to a demodulation of the subcortical areas, at the basis of migraine maintenance. The link between brain dysfunction and peripheral interactions through the inhibition of CGRP, the main mediator of sterile migraine inflammation needs to be further investigated. Preliminary evidence could suggest that peripheral nerves inference at somatic and trigeminal levels, appears to change brain FC.
Keywords: CGRP; EEG; FMRI; MEG; brain connectivity; migraine; pathophysiology.