MRI Migraine Specialist Treatment Center

Migraine with aura is when the migraine headache pain is accompanied by symptoms like visual disturbances, or a tingling in the face or hands.  When testing patients with migraine aura it was found that the timing of the aura corresponded to a wave of electromagnetic activity moving across the brain. This wave was measured with Magnetic Resonance Imaging MRI technology.

The endothelium is the innermost lining of all blood vessels. It plays an important role in the widening and tightening of blood vessels. It is therefore believed that substances released by the endothelium play an important role in CSD. Endothelin-1 is a substance released by the endothelium. It influences blood vessels and causes them to tighten, triggering migraine. For the first time, it has been proven to cause CSD. Live rats were given endothelin-1 in amounts between 10 nM and 1 μM. Their brain activities were studied.

It was found that endothelin-1 caused CSD after decreasing blood flow to the rat brains. Endothelin-1 caused CSD through a cell called ‘N-methyl-D-asparate’. Rats were given a substance called ‘NOE-donor’ which causes blood vessels to widen. When this substance was given, larger amounts of endothelin-1 had to be given to cause CSD. Another substance that is used to cause CSD in the brain is potassium (K). K causes CSD in live rats and when added directly to brain slices. Endothelin-1 only causes CSD in live rats.

Endothelin-1 is currently the strongest substance to cause CSD. Endothelin-1 might be the link between the endothelium and migranious aura.


View the original migraine treatment study at this link: Is migraine aura triggered by a small protein called Endothelin? 

  • “The findings did not indicate that endothelin- 1 induced an ischemic core at concentrations triggering spreading depolarizations. However, a penumbra-like condition cannot be excluded. Our results add evidence that endothelin- 1 is possibly involved in the pathogenesis of migrainous aura. “


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