Thalamo-cortical networks in subtypes of migraine with aura patients

J Headache Pain. 2021 Jun 19;22(1):58. doi: 10.1186/s10194-021-01272-0.


Background: We searched for differences in resting-state functional connectivity (FC) between brain networks and its relationship with the microstructure of the thalamus between migraine with pure visual auras (MA), and migraine with complex neurological auras (MA+), i.e. with the addition of at least one of sensory or language symptom.

Methods: 3T MRI data were obtained from 20 patients with MA and 15 with MA + and compared with those from 19 healthy controls (HCs). We collected resting state data among independent component networks. Diffusivity metrics of bilateral thalami were calculated and correlated with resting state ICs-Z-scores.

Results: As compared to HCs, both patients with MA and MA + disclosed disrupted FC between the default mode network (DMN) and the right dorsal attention system (DAS). The MA + subgroup had lower microstructural metrics than both HCs and the MA subgroup, which correlated negatively with the strength of DMN connectivity. Although the microstructural metrics of MA patients did not differ from those of HCs, these patients lacked the correlation with the strength of DAS connectivity found in HCs.

Conclusions: The present findings suggest that, as far as MRI profiles are concerned, the two clinical phenotypes of migraine with aura have both common and distinct morpho-functional features of nodes in the thalamo-cortical network.

Keywords: aura; diffusion tensor imaging; migraine; networks; resting state; thalamus.

MeSH terms

  • Brain
  • Brain Mapping
  • Epilepsy*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Migraine Disorders*
  • Migraine with Aura* / diagnostic imaging