Serum and salivary magnesium levels in migraine and tension-type headache. Results in a group of adult patients


Virgilio Gallai, Interuniversity Center for the Study of Headache and Neurotransmitter Disorders, Perugia, Roma, Sassari. Policinico Monteluce, via Enrico Dal Pozzo, 06126 Perugia, Italy.


It has been suggested that magnesium plays a central role in different etiopathogenetic conditions involved in the onset of migraine. We measured, by atomic absorption spectrophotometry, serum and salivary magnesium levels in drug-free migraine patients with and without aura and in tension-type headache patients. Migraine sufferers with and without aura and tension-type headache had significantly lower levels of serum and salivary magnesium concentrations in the interical periods than a group of healthy young individuals. Serum magnesium levels tended to be further reduced during attacks in all patient groups studied. A statistically significant decrease in salivary magnesium levels was evident only for migraine patients with aura. Serum magnesium levels and to a lesser extent salivary magnesium levels might express indirectly the lowering of brain extracellular magnesium concentration which occurs in migraine patients both in the intererictal periods and ictally.