MMP-9 Immunoreactivity in Acute Migraine


  • Rogelio Leira MD, PhD,

  • Tomás Sobrino BSc,

  • Manuel Rodríguez-Yáñez MD, PhD,

  • Miguel Blanco MD, PhD,

  • Susana Arias MD,

  • José Castillo MD, PhD

  • From the Headache and Stroke Unit and Neurovascular Research Laboratory, Department of Neurology, Hospital Clínico Universitario, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Address all correspondence to Dr. Rogelio Leira, Department of Neurology, Hospital Clínico Universitario, Travesa da Choupana, sn, 15705 Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


Objective.—To examine the role of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) in migraine during headache and asymptomatic periods.

Methods.—Thirty-four patients with migraine with and without aura (according to International Headache Society criteria) were studied. Clinical characteristic of headache were recorded. Blood samples for measurement of MMP-9 were drawn during headache attacks and during asymptomatic periods in all patients and in 10 healthy controls.

Results.—We found higher plasma MMP-9 levels in migraine patients than in control group (129.3 [78.0–258.9] vs. 49.6 [39.1-64.3] ng/mL; P < .001). Migrainous patients showed higher MMP-9 plasma levels during headache attacks than in asymptomatic periods, both in migraine without aura (338.4 [275.1–396.2] vs. 118.2 [75.3–137.5] ng/mL; P < .0001), and migraine with aura (389.3 [273.4–487.1] vs. 139.3 [107.3–191.4] ng/mL; P < .0001).

Conclusions.—Our study showed an increased production of MMP-9 during migraine attacks. These data suggest a possible role of inflammation or blood–brain barrier disruption during the migraine attack.