Platelet models and their possible usefulness in the study of migraine pathogenesis


Headache and Stroke Center, Department of Neurology, San Bortolo Hospital Viale Rodolfi 37, 36100 Vicenza, Italy. Tel. + 39 444 993772/993771, fax. + 39 444 993772.


Platelets may be linked to migraine. On the one hand they are activated during the migraine attack and thus may participate in the pathogenesis of the disorder (the nature of this activation is still unknown). In order to understand this platelet anomaly, we discuss the data available in the literature. In particular, we review recent in vitro studies of a-granules and dense bodies secretion, and aggregation induced by collagen and PAF. On the other hand, platelets share many metabolic characteristics with serotonergic neurons and endothelial cells. Accordingly, platelets have been used to investigate the possible role of serotonin turnover and nitric oxide function in migraine. In both cases, the data obtained have shown peculiar abnormalities that may explain pathogenetic and clinical aspects of primary headache.