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Papers of the Week

Papers: 12 Mar 2022 - 18 Mar 2022

2022 Mar 13

J Pain

Migraine, Brain Glucose Metabolism and the “Neuroenergetic” Hypothesis: A Scoping Review.


Moro L D, Rota E, Pirovano E, Rainero I
J Pain. 2022 Mar 13.
PMID: 35296423.


Increasing evidence suggests that migraine may be the result of an impaired brain glucose metabolism. Several studies have reported brain mitochondrial dysfunction, impaired brain glucose metabolism and gray matter volume reduction in specific brain areas of migraineurs. Furthermore, peripheral insulin resistance, a condition demonstrated in several studies, may extend to the brain, leading to brain insulin resistance. This condition has been proven to downregulate insulin receptors, both in astrocytes and neurons, triggering a reduction in glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis, mainly during high metabolic demand. This scoping review examines the clinical, epidemiologic and pathophysiologic data supporting the hypothesis that abnormalities in brain glucose metabolism may generate a mismatch between the brain's energy reserve and metabolic expenditure, triggering migraine attacks. Moreover, alteration in glucose homeostasis could generate a chronic brain energy deficit promoting migraine chronification. Lastly, insulin resistance may link migraine with its comorbidities, like obesity, depression, cognitive impairment and cerebrovascular diseases. Perspective: Although additional experimental studies are needed to support this novel "neuroenergetic" hypothesis, brain insulin resistance in migraineurs may unravel the pathophysiological mechanisms of the disease, explaining the migraine chronification and connecting migraine with comorbidities. Therefore, this hypothesis could elucidate novel potential approaches for migraine treatment.