Migraine is a complex and debilitating neurological disease that affects 15% of the population worldwide. It is defined by the presence of recurrent severe attacks of disabling headache accompanied by other debilitating neurological symptoms. Important advancements have linked the trigeminovascular system and the neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide to migraine pathophysiology, but the mechanisms underlying its pathogenesis and chronification remain unknown. Glial cells are essential for the correct development and functioning of the nervous system and, due to its implication in neurological diseases, have been hypothesised to have a role in migraine. Here we provide a narrative review of the role of glia in different phases of migraine through the analysis of preclinical studies. Current evidence shows that astrocytes and microglia are involved in the initiation and propagation of cortical spreading depolarization, the neurophysiological correlate of migraine aura. Furthermore, satellite glial cells within the trigeminal ganglia are implicated in the initiation and maintenance of orofacial pain, suggesting a role in the headache phase of migraine. Moreover, microglia in the trigeminocervical complex are involved in central sensitization, suggesting a role in chronic migraine. Taken altogether, glial cells have emerged as key players in migraine pathogenesis and chronification and future therapeutic strategies could be focused on targeting them to reduce the burden of migraine.
Chronic Migraine; Headache; Microglia
Vila-Pueyo M, Gliga O, Gallardo VJ, Pozo-Rosich P. The Role of Glial Cells in Different Phases of Migraine: Lessons from Preclinical Studies. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Aug 8;24(16):12553.
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