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Animal models in headache research

Edited by: Cenk Ayata, Andrea M. Harriott

Animal models are critical for progress in headache research. However, translational models of headache are used in only a small number of labs across the world.

This thematic series, published in The Journal of Headache and Pain, aims to change this by spreading awareness about them. Consequently, we assembled review articles on headache models we hope will stimulate interest in their use, germinate new or modified models, and accelerate the translational potential of existing and developing models. 

© Vuralli et al, 2019

The reviews cover the use of genetic methods, cortical spreading depression, direct stimulation of trigeminal neurons, and the use of behavioral testing. These four approaches encompass the current landscape of animal models that examine headache pathophysiology and therapeutic targeting.
Our hope is that these articles will appeal to scientists interested in building translational careers in headache medicine and influence others to exploit and expand the use of these models to accelerate the forward momentum of headache research.

The articles have undergone the journal’s standard peer review process overseen by the Editor-in-Chief.

The Editors declare the following competing interests:

Andrea M. Harriott: Research funding is provided to A.H. by the Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation, Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women’s Health Award – (NIH, 5K12HD051959-13), and the Training in Research for Academic Neurologists to Sustain Careers and Enhance the Numbers of Diverse Scholars (TRANSCENDS) - NINDS/NIH Award through the American Academy of Neurology (R25 NS098999-02).
Prior Consulting/Advisory Board: Bristol-Myers Squibb. No other relevant financial conflict of interest.

Cenk Ayata: Research funding from: NIH, AHA, Fondation Leducq, Andrew Heitman Foundation, Ellison Foundation, Electrocore LLC, Hovid Pharmaceuticals
Consulting/Advisory Board: Omniox Inc., BioAxone Biosciences. No relevant financial conflict of interest

  1. The mechanism of chronic migraine (CM) is complex, central sensitization is considered as one of the pathological mechanism. Synaptic plasticity is the basis of central sensitization. Metabotropic glutamate re...

    Authors: Yingying Niu, Xiaoxu Zeng, Lilin Zhao, Yang Zhou, Guangcheng Qin, Dunke Zhang, Qingqing Fu, Jiying Zhou and Lixue Chen
    Citation: The Journal of Headache and Pain 2020 21:139
  2. Migraine is a common debilitating condition whose main attributes are severe recurrent headaches with accompanying sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting. Migraine-related pain is a major cause of...

    Authors: Andrea M. Harriott, Lauren C. Strother, Marta Vila-Pueyo and Philip R. Holland
    Citation: The Journal of Headache and Pain 2019 20:91
  3. Mouse models of rare monogenic forms of migraine provide a unique experimental system to study the cellular and circuit mechanisms of the primary brain dysfunctions causing a migraine disorder. Here, we discus...

    Authors: Daniela Pietrobon and K. C. Brennan
    Citation: The Journal of Headache and Pain 2019 20:79
  4. Spreading depression (SD) is a slowly propagating wave of near-complete depolarization of neurons and glial cells across the cortex. SD is thought to contribute to the underlying pathophysiology of migraine au...

    Authors: Andrea M. Harriott, Tsubasa Takizawa, David Y. Chung and Shih-Pin Chen
    Citation: The Journal of Headache and Pain 2019 20:45
  5. Animal models have provided a growing body of information about the pathophysiology of headaches and novel therapeutic targets. In recent years, experiments in awake animals have gained attention as more relev...

    Authors: Doga Vuralli, Anne-Sophie Wattiez, Andrew F. Russo and Hayrunnisa Bolay
    Citation: The Journal of Headache and Pain 2019 20:11