How does the brain change in chronic migraine? Developing disease biomarkers

Patricia Pozo-Rosich, Gianluca Coppola, Julio Pascual, Todd J. Schwedt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Validated chronic migraine biomarkers could improve diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive abilities for clinicians and researchers, as well as increase knowledge on migraine pathophysiology. Objective: The objective of this narrative review is to summarise and interpret the published literature regarding the current state of development of chronic migraine biomarkers. Findings: Data from functional and structural imaging, neurophysiological, and biochemical studies have been utilised towards the development of chronic migraine biomarkers. These biomarkers could contribute to chronic migraine classification/diagnosis, prognosticating patient outcomes, predicting response to treatment, and measuring treatment responses early after initiation. Results show promise for using measures of brain structure and function, evoked potentials, and sensory neuropeptide concentrations for the development of chronic migraine biomarkers, yet further optimisation and validation are still required. Conclusions: Imaging, neurophysiological, and biochemical changes that occur with the progression from episodic to chronic migraine could be utilised for developing chronic migraine biomarkers that might assist with diagnosis, prognosticating individual patient outcomes, and predicting responses to migraine therapies. Ultimately, validated biomarkers could move us closer to being able to practice precision medicine in the field and thus improve patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-630
Number of pages18
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • CGRP
  • CGRP
  • Classification
  • chronic migraine
  • migraine
  • neuroimaging
  • neurophysiology
  • predict outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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