Early alterations of cortical thickness and gyrification in migraine without aura: a retrospective MRI study in pediatric patients
The Journal of Headache and Pain
Background Migraine is the most common neurological disease, with high social-economical burden. Although there is growing evidence of brain structural and functional abnormalities in patients with migraine, few studies have been conducted on children and no studies investigating cortical gyrification have been conducted on pediatric patients affected by migraine without aura. Methods Seventy-two pediatric patients affected by migraine without aura and eighty-two controls aged between 6 and 18
... ere retrospectively recruited with the following inclusion criteria: MRI exam showing no morphological or signal abnormalities, no systemic comorbidities, no abnormal neurological examination. Cortical thickness (CT) and local gyrification index (LGI) were obtained through a dedicated algorithm, consisting of a combination of voxel-based and surface-based morphometric techniques. The statistical analysis was performed separately on CT and LGI between: patients and controls; subgroups of controls and subgroups of patients. Results Patients showed a decreased LGI in the left superior parietal lobule and in the supramarginal gyrus, compared to controls. Female patients presented a decreased LGI in the right superior, middle and transverse temporal gyri, right postcentral gyrus and supramarginal gyrus compared to male patients. Compared to migraine patients younger than 12 years, the ≥ 12-year-old subjects showed a decreased CT in the superior and middle frontal gyri, pre- and post-central cortex, paracentral lobule, superior and transverse temporal gyri, supramarginal gyrus and posterior insula. Migraine patients experiencing nausea and/or vomiting during headache attacks presented an increased CT in the pars opercularis of the left inferior frontal gyrus. Conclusions Differences in CT and LGI in patients affected by migraine without aura may suggest the presence of congenital and acquired abnormalities in migraine and that migraine might represent a vast spectrum of different entities. In particular, ≥ 12-year-old pediatric patients showed a decreased CT in areas related to the executive function and nociceptive networks compared to younger patients, while female patients compared to males showed a decreased CT of the auditory cortex compared to males. Therefore, early and tailored therapies are paramount to obtain migraine control, prevent cerebral reduction of cortical thickness and preserve executive function and nociception networks to ensure a high quality of life.