BMC Neurol. 2022 Jul 27;22(1):278. doi: 10.1186/s12883-022-02781-4.
BACKGROUND: Migraine is a neurological condition characterized by chronic inflammation. However, not much is known about the potential role of peripheral blood immune cells in the pathophysiology of migraine.
METHODS: We investigated the status of peripheral blood immune cells of 15 adults with frequent episodic or chronic migraine recruited chronologically from a randomized clinical trial (RCT) on Nutrition for Migraine (NCCIH 5R01AT007813-05) and 15 non-migraine, healthy volunteers (control) matched by age, gender, and Body Mass Index (BMI). Continuous variables were presented as means ± standard deviationas well as medians, and comparisons between patients and healthy volunteers were performed with non-parametric Wilcoxon signed rank tests. Statistical analysis was performed using Stata (StataCorp. 2019. Stata Statistical Software). Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorting (FACS) data were processed using FlowJo software (Ashland, OR: Becton, Dickenson and Company; 2019).
RESULTS: We observed that migraineurs had a significantly lower percentage of non-classical monocytes (CD14+CD16++) in blood circulation, compared to the control group. In addition, Migraineurs also showed a significantly lower percentage of blood CD3+CD4+ helper T cells and CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells, compared to controls. Differences in leukocyte surface markers between chronic migraine patients and their matched controls were more prominent than those between episodic migraine patients and their matched controls.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that migraine is associated with dysregulated peripheral immune homeostasis and that inflammation and autoimmunity may play a role in its pathophysiology.