Journal Article

Somatosensory evoked high-frequency oscillations reflecting thalamo-cortical activity are decreased in migraine patients between attacks

Gianluca Coppola, Michel Vandenheede, Laura Di Clemente, Anna Ambrosini, Arnaud Fumal, Victor De Pasqua and Jean Schoenen

in Brain

Published on behalf of The Guarantors of Brain

Volume 128, issue 1, pages 98-103
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 0006-8950
Published online November 2004 | e-ISSN: 1460-2156 | DOI:
Somatosensory evoked high-frequency oscillations reflecting thalamo-cortical activity are decreased in migraine patients between attacks

Show Summary Details


A deficit of habituation in cortical information processing, including somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs), is the most consistent neurophysiological abnormality in migraine patients between attacks. To explore further the mechanisms underlying this interictal neural dysfunction, we have studied the high-frequency oscillations (HFOs) embedded in SSEPs because they are thought to reflect spike activity in thalamo-cortical cholinergic fibres (early HFOs) and in cortical inhibitory GABAergic interneurons (late HFOs). Untreated migraine patients with (MA) and without (MO) aura were recorded during (n = 13: nine MO, four MA) and between attacks (n = 29: 14 MO, 15 MA) and compared with healthy volunteers. SSEPs were filtered off-line (digital band-pass between 450 and 750 Hz) to extract the two HFO bursts from the broad-band contralateral N20 somatosensory cortical response obtained by median nerve stimulation. In both migraine groups, amplitudes and latencies of conventional broad-band SSEPs recorded interictally from cervical and parietal active electrodes were not significantly different from those found in healthy volunteers. In contrast, maximum peak-to-peak amplitude and area under the rectified curve of the early HFO burst were significantly smaller in both MA and MO patients than in healthy volunteers. There was no significant difference in the later HFO burst between migraineurs and healthy volunteers. During attacks, all electrophysiological measurements in migraineurs were similar to those found in healthy volunteers. Thalamo-cortical activation, as reflected by the early SSEP HFO burst, may thus be reduced in migraine interictally, but normalizes during an attack, whereas intracortical inhibition, as indexed by the late HFO burst, is normal at any time. This supports the hypothesis that the habituation deficit in migraineurs is due to a reduced pre-activation level of sensory cortices and not to increased cortical excitability or reduced intracortical inhibition.

Keywords: high-frequency oscillations; somatosensory evoked potentials; habituation; migraine; cortical excitability; HFO = high-frequency oscillation; MA = migraine with aura; MO = migraine without aura; SSEP = somatosensory evoked potential

Journal Article.  3971 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology ; Neuroscience

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.