Intrinsic brain activity triggers trigeminal meningeal afferents in a migraine model.Nat Med 2002; 8(2):136-42NMed
Although the trigeminal nerve innervates the meninges and participates in the genesis of migraine headaches, triggering mechanisms remain controversial and poorly understood. Here we establish a link between migraine aura and headache by demonstrating that cortical spreading depression, implicated in migraine visual aura, activates trigeminovascular afferents and evokes a series of cortical meningeal and brainstem events consistent with the development of headache. Cortical spreading depression caused long-lasting blood-flow enhancement selectively within the middle meningeal artery dependent upon trigeminal and parasympathetic activation, and plasma protein leakage within the dura mater in part by a neurokinin-1-receptor mechanism. Our findings provide a neural mechanism by which extracerebral cephalic blood flow couples to brain events; this mechanism explains vasodilation during headache and links intense neurometabolic brain activity with the transmission of headache pain by the trigeminal nerve.