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01.12.2014 | Meeting abstract | Sonderheft 1/2014 Open Access

The Journal of Headache and Pain 1/2014

EHMTI-0055. Abnormal thalamic function in patients with vestibular migraine

The Journal of Headache and Pain > Sonderheft 1/2014
A Russo, V Marcelli, F Esposito, V Corvino, L Marcuccio, A Giannone, R Conforti, E Marciano, T Gioacchino, A Tessitore


Vestibular migraine (VM) has been increasingly recognized as a possible cause of episodic vertigo, but its pathophysiology is still unclear.


We used advanced non-invasive neuroimaging to examine the functional response of neural pathways associated with vestibular stimulation in patients with VM.


Twelve patients with VM underwent whole-brain blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) fMRI during ear irrigation with cold water. The functional response of neural pathways to this stimulation in patients with VM was compared to age- and gender-matched patients with migraine without aura (MwoA) and healthy controls (HC). Secondary analyses explored associations between BOLD signal change and clinical features of migraine in patients.


We observed a robust cortical and subcortical pattern of BOLD signal change in response to ear irrigation across all participants. Patients with VM showed significantly increased thalamic activation in comparison with both patients with MwoA and HC. The magnitude of thalamic activation was positively correlated with the frequency of migraine attacks in patients with VM.


We provide novel evidence for abnormal thalamic functional response to vestibular stimulation in patients with VM. These functional abnormalities in central vestibular processing may contribute to VM pathophysiology.
No conflict of interest.
Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( https://​creativecommons.​org/​licenses/​by/​4.​0), which permits use, duplication, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
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