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Migraine pathogenesis and state of pharmacological treatment options

Till Sprenger and Peter J Goadsby*

Author Affiliations

UCSF Headache Group-Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA

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BMC Medicine 2009, 7:71  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-7-71

Published: 16 November 2009

Abstract

Migraine is a largely inherited disorder of the brain characterized by a complex, but stereotypical, dysfunction of sensory processing. Often the most obvious clinical symptom is head pain, but non-headache symptoms such as photophobia, phonophobia and nausea are clearly part of the typical presentation. This review discusses the current pathophysiological concepts of migraine and migraine aura, such as a possible brainstem dysfunction and cortical spreading depression. Acute and preventive migraine treatment approaches are briefly covered with a focus on shortcomings of the currently available treatment options. A number of different receptors, such as calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), TRPV1 and glutamate receptors, are currently being targeted by potential novel migraine therapeutics. The prospects of this research are exciting and are likely to improve patient care.