Dissecting the Association Between Migraine and Stroke

Andrea M. Harriott, Kevin M. Barrett

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Migraine is a common disabling neurological disorder resulting from excessive cortical excitation and trigeminovascular afferent sensitization. In addition to aberrant neuronal processing, migraineurs are also at significant risk of vascular disease. Consequently, the impact of migraine extends well beyond the ictal headache and includes a well-documented association with acute ischemic stroke, particularly in young women with a history of migraine with aura. The association between migraine and stroke has been acknowledged for 40 years or more. However, examining the pathobiology of this association has become a more recent and critically important undertaking. The diversity of mechanisms underlying the association between migraine and stroke likely reflects the heterogenous nature of this disorder. Vasospasm, endothelial injury, platelet aggregation and prothrombotic states, cortical spreading depression, carotid dissection, genetic variants, and traditional vascular risk factors have been offered as putative mechanisms involved in migraine-related stroke risk. Assimilating these seemingly divergent pathomechanisms into a cogent understanding of migraine-related stroke will inform future studies and the development of new strategies for the prevention and treatment of migraine and stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCurrent neurology and neuroscience reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2015


  • Acute ischemic stroke
  • Cortical spreading depression
  • Endothelial dysfunction
  • Migraine
  • Migraine genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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