Migraine affects white-matter tract integrity: A diffusion-tensor imaging study

Catherine D. Chong, Todd J. Schwedt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background Specific white-matter tract alterations in migraine remain to be elucidated. Using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), this study investigated whether the integrity of white-matter tracts that underlie regions of the "pain matrix" is altered in migraine and interrogated whether the number of years lived with migraine modifies fibertract structure. Methods Global probabilistic tractography was used to assess the anterior thalamic radiations, the corticospinal tracts and the inferior longitudinal fasciculi in 23 adults with migraine and 18 healthy controls. Results Migraine patients show greater mean diffusivity (MD) in the left and right anterior thalamic radiations, the left corticospinal tract, and the right inferior longitudinal fasciculus tract. Migraine patients also show greater radial diffusivity (RD) in the left anterior thalamic radiations, the left corticospinal tract as well as the left and right inferior longitudinal fasciculus tracts. No group fractional anisotropy (FA) differences were identified for any tracts. Migraineurs showed a positive correlation between years lived with migraine and MD in the right anterior thalamic radiations (r = 0.517; p = 0.012) and the left corticospinal tract (r = 0.468; p = 0.024). Conclusion Results indicate that white-matter integrity is altered in migraine and that longer migraine history is positively correlated with greater alterations in tract integrity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1162-1171
Number of pages10
Issue number13
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • Migraine
  • diffusion-tensor imaging
  • fibertracts
  • neuroimaging
  • pain
  • white matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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