Background.—The vasoactive peptide, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), is released from primary afferent neurons in the trigemino-vascular circulation during migraine headache. CGRP at physiological concentrations and possibly via stimulation of its selective receptors on T-cells, triggers the secretion of cytokines. Cytokines play an important role in several physiological and pathological settings such as immunology, inflammation, and pain.
Objective.—To investigate plasma levels of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in migraineurs and healthy controls.
Methods.—We studied 25 migraine patients, during and outside attacks, and 18 healthy control subjects measuring plasma levels of IL-6, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), IL-4, IL-1β, and IL-2 using ELISA.
Results.—Circulating levels of IL-10, TNFα, and IL-1β during attacks were significantly higher in comparison to their levels outside attacks (P= .0003, P= .03, and P= .05, respectively). IL-10 and TNF serum levels were higher in patients studied soon after headache onset and lower over time (P= .004 and P= .05).
Conclusion.—Our results suggest that TNFα, IL-1β, and IL-10 may be involved in the pathogenesis of migraine attacks.