[Pathophysiology of migraine: models to explain the generation of migraine headache].Anaesthesist. 2002 Aug; 51(8):661-7.A
Migraine attacks can be elicited by many different trigger situations such as light, food and the menstruation cycle. However, patients share a common pathophysiology, and a number of theories have been proposed as to how migraine can be generated. After a brief introduction of the trigeminal nociceptive system, 4 attempts to explain the generation of migraine attacks are described and discussed: One deals with the "cortical spreading depression (CSD) theory" which favors a cortical dysfunction. The second provides some evidence that a genetic mutation of calcium channels might be the cause. The third is based on a pathophysiological role of endogenous serotonin because serotonin agonists are effective drugs in the treatment of migraine and the last one postulates a migraine generator in the brainstem.