Cerebellar and Cerebral Autoregulation in Migraine

Authors: Reinhard M, Schork J, Allignol A, Weiller C, Kaube H.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Silent ischemic brain lesions frequently occur in migraine with aura and are most often located in cerebellar border zones. This may imply an impairment of cerebellar blood flow autoregulation. This study investigated the characteristics of interictal cerebellar autoregulation in migraine with and without aura.
METHODS: Thirty-four patients (n=17, migraine without aura; n=17, migraine with aura) and 35 age- and sex-matched controls were studied. Triple simultaneous transcranial Doppler monitoring of one posterior inferior cerebellar artery, right posterior cerebral artery, and left middle cerebral artery was performed. Autoregulation dynamics were assessed from spontaneous blood pressure fluctuations (correlation coefficient index Dx) and from respiratory-induced 0.1-Hz blood pressure oscillations (phase and gain).
RESULTS: Compared with controls, the autoregulatory index Dx was higher (indicating less autoregulation) in the posterior inferior cerebellar artery (P=0.0062) and middle cerebral artery (P=0.0078) in migraine with aura, but not in migraine without aura. Phase and gain did not significantly differ between migraine patients and controls. No significant associations of autoregulation with clinical factors were found, including frequency of migraine attacks and orthostatic intolerance.
CONCLUSIONS: This first-time analysis of cerebellar autoregulation in migraine did not show a specific cerebellar dysautoregulation in the interictal period. More static autoregulatory properties (index Dx) are, however, impaired in persons with migraine with aura both in the cerebellar and anterior circulation. The cerebellar predilection of ischemic lesions in migraine with aura might be a combination of altered autoregulation and additional factors, such as the end artery cerebellar angioarchitecture.

Stroke. 2012 Feb 16. 

Full text and source: Stroke