White matter microstructure abnormalities in pediatric migraine patients

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Diffusion tensor (DT) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides several quantities with the potential to disclose white matter (WM) microstructural abnormalities. We explored alterations of WM architecture in pediatric migraine patients using DT MRI and two different methods of analysis. Methods Dual-echo and DT MRI scans were acquired from 15 pediatric migraine patients and 15 age-matched controls. Whole-brain voxel-wise comparisons of WM DT MRI abnormalities were performed using tract-based-spatial-statistics (TBSS). A DT probabilistic tractography analysis was also run. Results Both TBSS and DT tractography analysis showed that, compared to controls, pediatric migraine patients had significant lower mean (MD), axial (AD) and radial (RD) diffusivity of WM tracts located in the brainstem, thalamus and fronto-temporo-occipital lobes, bilaterally. Patients also experienced increased fractional anisotropy (FA) of the optic radiations. No correlation was found between WM tract abnormalities and disease duration and attack frequency. Conclusions Pediatric migraine patients harbor diffuse brain WM microstructural abnormalities. High FA and low MD, AD and RD in these patients might be explained by repeated neuronal activation, which may lead to cell swelling and stimulate activity-dependent myelin-modulation, or by increased fiber and dendritic densities. Both these mechanisms might reflect a hyperexcitability of the brain in migraineurs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1278-1286
Number of pages9
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015


  • diffusion tensor MRI
  • Migraine
  • pediatric migraine
  • white matter damage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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