Migraine patients show an increased density of dopamine D3 and D4 receptors on lymphocytes

P. Barbanti, G. Fabbrini, A. Ricci, M. Paola Pascali, E. Bronzetti, F. Amenta, G. L. Lenzi, R. Cerbo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent studies have revealed peculiar functional and genetic features of dopamine receptors in migraine. As peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) may represent a tool for peripheral detection of neuroreceptors, we compared the expression of dopamine D3 (DRD3) and D4 (DRD4) receptors on PBL in migraine patients and in healthy controls using radioligand binding assay techniques in the presence of antidopamine D2-like receptor antibodies. The dopamine D2-like receptor agonist [ 3H]7-OH-DPAT was used as a radioligand. An increased density of both DRD3 (P=0.0006) and DRD4 (P=0.002) on PBL was observed in migraineurs compared with controls. This up-regulation might reflect central and/or peripheral dopamine receptor hypersensitivity due to hypofunction of the dopaminergic system. These findings support the view that dopamine D2-like receptors are involved in the determination of the so-called migraine trait, which may help to elucidate several clinical features of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-19
Number of pages5
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • D3 receptor
  • D4 receptor
  • Dopamine receptors
  • Lymphocytes
  • Migraine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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