Platelet hyperactivity, one of the commonest findings associated with migraine, has been related to increased release of biologically active substances such as catecholamines and arachidonic acid metabolites, which seem to play a role in the pathogenesis of migraine. In this study, in vitro platelet aggregation tests were performed on samples from patients with different types of headache. The presence of platelet hyperactivity was clearly demonstrated in 11 patients with classical migraine between attacks, but not in 4 patients between attacks of common migraine. Nevertheless, the presence of a marked platelet hyporesponsivity was found during the attack phase of both classical and common migraine. No difference in platelet aggregability was found between attack and post-attack phases in 5 patients with cluster headache. Blood leukotrienes were analyzed in 8 patients with classical migraine and in the 5 patients with cluster headache. During the attack phase of classical migraine both LTC4 and LTB4 were present in the peripheral blood, while the post-attack phase was characterized by the disappearance of LTC4 and the presence of LTB4 and its transisomer delta 6-trans-LTB4. Blood leukotrienes were constantly absent during both phases of cluster headache. Incubation of normal platelets with LTC4 or delta 6-trans-LTB4 was followed by inhibition of platelet response to epinephrine. delta 6-trans-LTB4, at higher concentrations, induced the opposite effect. A possible role of blood leukotrienes in the changes occurring in platelet aggregability during the different phases of classical migraine, is discussed.