This review summarizes major findings and recent advances in magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) of migraine. A multi database search of PubMed, EMBASE, and Web of Science was performed with variations of magnetic resonance spectroscopy and headache until 20th September 2021. The search generated 2897 studies, 676 which were duplicates and 1836 were not related to headache. Of the remaining 385 studies examined, further exclusions for not migraine (n = 114), and not MRS of human brain (n = 128), and non-original contributions (n = 51) or conferences (n = 24) or case studies (n = 11) or non-English (n = 3), were applied. The manuscripts of all resulting reports were reviewed for their possible inclusion in this manuscript (n = 54). The reference lists of all included reports were carefully reviewed and articles relevant to this review were added (n = 2).Included are 56 studies of migraine with and without aura that involve magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the human brain. The topics are presented in the form of a narrative review. This review aims to provide a summary of the metabolic changes measured by MRS in patients with migraine. Despite the variability reported between studies, common findings focused on regions functionally relevant to migraine such as occipital cortices, thalamic nuclei, cerebellum and cingulate. The most reproducible results were decreased N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA) in cerebellum in patients with hemiplegic migraine and in the thalamus of chronic migraine patients. Increased lactate (Lac) in the occipital cortex was found for migraine with aura but not in subjects without aura. MRS studies support the hypothesis of impaired energetics and mitochondrial dysfunction in migraine. Although results regarding GABA and Glu were less consistent, studies suggest there might be an imbalance of these important inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters in the migraine brain. Multinuclear imaging studies in migraine with and without aura, predominantly investigating phosphorous, report alterations of PCr in occipital, parietal, and posterior brain regions. There have been too few studies to assess the diagnostic relevance of sodium imaging in migraine.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
- Clinical Neurology
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine