Interictal alterations of the trigeminal somatosensory pathway and periaqueductal gray matter in migraine

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Migraine has been traditionally considered a nonprogressive, paroxysmal disorder with no brain abnormalities between attacks. We used diffusion tensor imaging to examine interictal diffusion properties of the brains of migraineurs with aura, migraineurs without aura and matched healthy controls. Areas of lower fractional anisotropy were present in migraineurs along the thalamocortical tract. In addition, migraineurs with aura had lower fractional anisotropy in the ventral trigeminothalamic tract, and migraineurs without aura had lower fractional anisotropy in the ventrolateral periaqueductal grey matter. Our results indicate the presence of permanent interictal changes in migraineurs, pointing to an effect of migraine on the trigeminal somatosensory and modulatory pain systems.

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