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Papers of the Week

Papers: 12 Aug 2023 - 18 Aug 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology


2023 Aug 10



Sensitization of meningeal afferents to locomotion-related meningeal deformations in a migraine model.


Blaeser AS, Zhao J, Sugden AU, Carneiro-Nascimento S, Andermann ML, Levy D


Migraine headache is hypothesized to involve the activation and sensitization of trigeminal sensory afferents that innervate the cranial meninges. To better understand migraine pathophysiology and improve clinical translation, we used two-photon calcium imaging via a closed cranial window in awake mice to investigate changes in the responses of meningeal afferents using a preclinical model of migraine involving cortical spreading depolarization (CSD). A single CSD episode caused a seconds-long wave of calcium activation that propagated across afferents and along the length of individual afferents. Surprisingly, unlike previous studies in anesthetized animals with exposed meninges, only a very small afferent population was persistently activated in our awake mouse preparation, questioning the relevance of this neuronal response to the onset of migraine pain. In contrast, we identified a larger subset of meningeal afferents that developed augmented responses to acute three-dimensional meningeal deformations that occur in response to locomotion bouts. We observed increased responsiveness in a subset of afferents that were already somewhat sensitive to meningeal deformation before CSD. Furthermore, another subset of previously insensitive afferents also became sensitive to meningeal deformation following CSD. Our data provides new insights into the mechanisms underlying migraine, including the emergence of enhanced meningeal afferent calcium responses to movement-related meningeal deformations as a potential neural substrate underlying the worsening of migraine headache during physical activity.