Platelet glutamate uptake and release in migraine with and without aura


Professor Carlo Ferrarese MD, PhD, Department of Neurology, University of Milano-Bicocca, S. Gerardo Hospital, via Pergolesi 33, 20052 Monza (MI), Italy. Tel. + 39 03 9233 3595, fax + 39 02 6448 8108, e-mail


Glutamate may play an important role in the pathogenesis of migraine: glutamate release in the brain may be involved in the development of spreading depression and increased concentrations of this amino acid have been reported in plasma and platelets from migraine patients. Here we assessed platelet glutamate uptake and release in 25 patients affected by migraine with aura (MA) and 25 patients affected by migraine without aura (MoA), comparing the results with a group of 20 healthy matched controls. Both glutamate release from stimulated platelets and plasma concentrations of the amino acid were assessed by high-performance liquid chromatography, and were increased in both types of migraine, although more markedly in MA. Platelet glutamate uptake, assessed as 3H-glutamate intake, was increased in MA, while it was reduced in MoA with respect to the control group. These results support the view that MA might involve different pathophysiological mechanisms from MoA and, specifically, up-regulation of the glutamatergic metabolism. Understanding these dysfunctional pathways could lead to new, possibly more successful therapeutic approaches to the management of migraine.