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Cortical GABA in migraine with aura -an ultrashort echo magnetic resonance spectroscopy study

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OBJECTIVE: The aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the cortical metabolite concentrations in patients suffering from migraine with aura (MWA). We hypothesized that occipital γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels are lower in MWA patients.

BACKGROUND: Recent studies have indicated that a disturbance in the inhibitory GABA is involved in triggering the migraine aura. We aimed to explore this using a novel magnetic resonance spectroscopy sequence.

METHODS: Using spin echo full intensity acquired localized spectroscopy on a Siemens 3 Tesla magnetic resonance scanner, we obtained occipital and parietal metabolite concentrations in 14 patients suffering from migraine with aura and a group of 16 matched healthy subjects. All scans were performed at Aarhus University Hospital, at the Center for Functionally Integrative Neuroscience (CFIN).

RESULTS: No difference was found in GABA/(Total creatine) levels in either the occipital cortex (p = 0.744) or in the somatosensory cortex (p = 0.305).

CONCLUSION: These findings indicate that cortical GABA levels are normal in patients suffering from relatively few migraine attacks. Previous studies have reported that cortical GABA in patients with more frequent migraines is reduced; further investigation of the inhibitory system in migraine patients is warranted to determine the underlying mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110
JournalThe Journal of Headache and Pain
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2019

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