Spreading Depression in Primary and Secondary Headache Disorders

Abstract Purpose of Review Spreading depression (SD) is a wave of simultaneous and near-complete depolarization of virtually all cells in brain tissue associated with a transient “depression” of all spontaneous or evoked electrical activity in the brain. SD is widely accepted as the pathophysiological event underlying migraine aura and may play a role in headache pathogenesis in secondary headache disorders such as ischemic stroke, subarachnoid or intracerebral hemorrhage, traumatic brain injury, and epilepsy. Here, we provide an overview of the pathogenic mechanisms and propose plausible hypotheses on the involvement of SD in primary and secondary headache disorders. Recent Findings SD can activate downstream trigeminovascular nociceptive pathways to explain the cephalgia in migraine, and possibly in secondary headache disorders as well. In healthy, well-nourished tissue (such as migraine), the intense transmembrane ionic shifts, the cell swelling, and the metabolic and hemodynamic responses associated with SD do not cause tissue injury; however, when SD occurs in metabolically compromised tissue (e.g., in ischemic stroke, intracranial hemorrhage, or traumatic brain injury), it can lead to irreversible depolarization, injury, and neuronal death. Recent non-invasive technologies to detect SDs in human brain injury may aid in the investigation of SD in headache disorders in which invasive ...
Source: Current Pain and Headache Reports - Category: Neurology Source Type: research

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