Cerebrospinal fluid analyses in migraine patients and controls


John F Rothrock, University of South Alabama, Department of Neurology, MCSB 1155, 2451 Fillingim Street, Mobile, AL 36617 USA. Tel. +1 334 471 7841, fax. +1 334 471 7838.


To investigate the role of central neurotransmitters in the pathogenesis of migraine, we measured cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of certain amino acids (glycine, taurine, glutamine) and metabolites of biogenic amines (5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid and homovanillic acid) in 38 migraine patients and compared them with the levels from 10 headache-free controls. The levels of taurine, glycine and glutamine were significantly higher in the migraine patients (p < 0.0001 for taurine and glycine; p < 0.0009 for glutamine); there were no significant differences among the three migraine subgroups (infrequent migraine, frequent migraine and transformed migraine). In seven patients subsequently treated with divalproex sodium, CSF taurine levels decreased significantly from pretreatment baseline values. These data support the concept that migraine is at least in part a disorder of central neurotransmission.