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BioMed Central, Journal of Headache and Pain, 1(22), 2021

DOI: 10.1186/s10194-021-01271-1



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Migraine and neuroinflammation: the inflammasome perspective

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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Abstract Background Neuroinflammation has an important role in the pathophysiology of migraine, which is a complex neuro-glio-vascular disorder. The main aim of this review is to highlight findings of cortical spreading depolarization (CSD)-induced neuroinflammatory signaling in brain parenchyma from the inflammasome perspective. In addition, we discuss the limited data of the contribution of inflammasomes to other aspects of migraine pathophysiology, foremost the activation of the trigeminovascular system and thereby the generation of migraine pain. Main body Inflammasomes are signaling multiprotein complexes and key components of the innate immune system. Their activation causes the production of inflammatory cytokines that can stimulate trigeminal neurons and are thus relevant to the generation of migraine pain. The contribution of inflammasome activation to pain signaling has attracted considerable attention in recent years. Nucleotide-binding domain (NOD)-like receptor family pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) is the best characterized inflammasome and there is emerging evidence of its role in a variety of inflammatory pain conditions, including migraine. In this review, we discuss, from an inflammasome point of view, cortical spreading depolarization (CSD)-induced neuroinflammatory signaling in brain parenchyma, the connection with genetic factors that make the brain vulnerable to CSD, and the relation of the inflammasome with diseases that are co-morbid with migraine, including stroke, epilepsy, and the possible links with COVID-19 infection. Conclusion Neuroinflammatory pathways, specifically those involving inflammasome proteins, seem promising candidates as treatment targets, and perhaps even biomarkers, in migraine.