Neuroimmune interplay is thought to play a role in the development and progression of headache. Despite significant progress in our understanding of headache and migraine pathophysiology, there are still many open questions about the role of neuroimmune interplay in this disorder. For the current Collection, we view neuroimmune interplay in the broadest sense, and include glia cells, oligodendrocytes, Schwann cells and even astrocytes, as they demonstrate interconnectedness of neural and immune functions by participating in immune responses within the nervous system, releasing cytokines and signaling molecules, while also maintaining homeostasis and regulating the inflammatory processes.
One of the most important questions of the Collection is how neuroimmune interplay could contribute to the initiation and maintenance of headache or more specific migraine attacks, potentially leading to chronification? For instance, what causes the release of immune mediators in the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system, and how do these mediators interact with neurons, glia, and other cells to sustain pain and other symptoms? It is assumed that frequent and long-lasting migraine attacks can cause structural changes in the brain, which may perpetuate the disorder. How does neuroimmune interplay affect these changes, if at all? In addition, there are still questions regarding the efficacy of treatments targeting neuroimmune interactions in migraine. Although some studies suggest that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other treatments targeting immune responses may help lessen the frequency and intensity of headaches in general and migraine attacks specifically, it is unclear how these medications operate, or which patients are most likely to benefit. The relationship between neuroimmune interplay and other factors that may influence headache and migraine, such as hormonal fluctuations, stress, and diet, is another unanswered question. In addition, a better understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying headache-associated neuroimmune interplay is required for the development of more targeted and effective treatments. Finally, the thematic series aims to focus on the emerging field of neuroimmunology, which is uncovering new insights into the complex interactions between the immune system and the nervous system in headache and migraine.
Through a series of expert-authored articles, this Collection will explore the latest research on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of migraine-associated neuroimmune interplay, as well as the clinical implications of these findings. This will be further bridged with early clinical studies, focusing on uncovering markers of neuroimmune interactions in patients.