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Open Access Research article

Associations between cerebral and systemic endothelial function in migraine patients: a post-hoc study

Denis Perko1*, Janja Pretnar-Oblak1, Mišo Šabovič2, Marjan Zaletel1 and Bojana Žvan1

Author Affiliations

1 University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Department of Neurology, Zaloška cesta 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

2 University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Department of Internal Medicine, Zaloška cesta 7, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

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BMC Neurology 2011, 11:146  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-11-146

Published: 15 November 2011

Abstract

Background

There is a growing interest in the role of the endothelium in migraine. Recently, our group showed differences in endothelial function between the anterior and posterior cerebral circulation in healthy subjects, reduced vasodilatatory capacity of the posterior cerebral circulation and unimpaired systemic endothelial function in migraine patients without comorbidities. However, the relationship between cerebral and systemic endothelial function and the anterior and posterior cerebral endothelial function in migraine patients is still not clear.

Methods

We compared cerebral and systemic endothelial function through post-hoc linear regression analysis of cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR) to L-arginine between the middle cerebral artery (MCA) and flow-mediated vasodilatation (FMD) of the right brachial artery and the posterior cerebral artery (PCA) and FMD in migraine patients without comorbidities and in healthy subjects. The anterior and posterior cerebral endothelial function was also compared using post-hoc linear regression analysis between CVR to L-arginine in the MCA and the PCA.

Results

No significant correlation was found between CVR to L-arginine in the MCA and FMD and in the PCA and FMD in migraine patients with aura (p = 0.880 vs. p = 0.682), without aura (p = 0.153 vs. p = 0.179) and in healthy subjects (p = 0.869 vs. p = 0.662). On the other hand, we found a significant correlation between CVR to L-arginine in the MCA and PCA in migraine patients with aura (p = 0.004), without aura (p = 0.001) and in healthy subjects (p = 0.002). Detailed analysis of the linear regression between all migraine patients and healthy subjects did not show any difference in the regression coefficient (slope) (p = 0.382). However, a significant difference in curve elevation (intercept) was found (p = 0.002).

Conclusions

Our study suggests that the endothelial function in the cerebral and systemic circulation might be different in migraine patients without comorbidities, while that of the anterior and posterior cerebral circulation might be coupled. These results could improve understanding of endothelial function in migraine patients without comorbidities.