Habituation of visual and intensity dependence of auditory evoked cortical potentials tends to normalize just before and during the migraine attack


Professor J. Schoenen, University Department of Neurology, CHR Citadelle, Bld. du 12ème de Ligne 1, B−4000 Liège, Belgium. Tel 32–04–225–61.11, fax 32–04–225.64.51, e-mail schoenen.j @village.uunet.be Received 18 April 2000, accepted 15 September 2000


Between attacks, migraine with (MO) or without aura (MA) patients show deficient habituation of pattern-reversal visual evoked potentials (PR-VEP) and a strong intensity dependence of auditory evoked cortical potentials (IDAP). Clinical observations of migraine prodromes and previously published electrophysiological studies suggest that cortical information processing may vary in close temporal relationship to the attack. We studied PR-VEP and IDAP just before (11 MO pts), during (23 MO, 3 MA), 1 day following (27 MO, 1 MA) and 2 days following (14 MO) a migraine attack. The results were compared with a large group of MO patients recorded at a distance of at least 3 days from an attack (n = 66 for IDAP; n = 39 for VEP). Patients recorded the day before the attack had on average an habituation of −13.6 ± 20.5% (mean ± sd) between the 5th and 1st block of 100 averaged VEP responses and a flat (0.38 ± 1.06 µV/10 dB) amplitude-stimulus intensity function (ASF) slope of the auditory evoked cortical potential. Both values were significantly different from those obtained in the attack interval (P = 0.003; P = 0.020). During the attack, VEP habituation was less pronounced (−0.17 ± 26.2%) and ASF slopes remained flat (0.32 ± 1.44 µV/10 dB; P = 0.002 compared to interval). During the 2 days following the attack, VEP habituation was replaced by potentiation (+ 0.09 ± 29.1% the 1st day; 19.5 ± 45.7% the 2nd day) and ASF slopes increased markedly (0.87 ± 1.39 and 1.14 ± 1.12 µV/10 dB). The normalization of evoked cortical responses just before and during the attack, might reflect an increase in the cortical preactivation level due to enhanced activity in raphe-cortical serotonergic pathways.