Background.— The group of catecholamines, which include dopamine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline, are neurotransmitters which have been considered to play a role in the pathogenesis of migraine. However, the impact of catecholamines, especially dopamine on migraine as well as the exact mechanisms is not clear to date as previous studies have yielded in part conflicting results.
Objective.— This study aimed to produce a comprehensive examination of dopamine in migraineurs.
Methods.— Catecholamines and various parameters of the homocysteine, folate, and iron metabolism as well as cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) and inflammatory markers were determined in 135 subjects.
Results.— We found increased dopamine levels in the headache free period in female migraineurs but not in male patients. Increased dopamine is associated with a 3.30-fold higher risk for migraine in women. We found no significant effects of aura symptoms or menstrual cycle phases on dopamine levels. Dopamine is strongly correlated with cGMP and the homocysteine—folate pathway.
Conclusion.— We show here that female migraineurs exhibit increased dopamine levels in the headache free period which are associated with a higher risk for migraine.