Executive resting-state network connectivity in migraine without aura

Antonio Russo, Alessandro Tessitore, Alfonso Giordano, Daniele Corbo, Laura Marcuccio, Manuela De Stefano, Fabrizio Salemi, Renata Conforti, Fabrizio Esposito, Gioacchino Tedeschi
Cephalalgia: An International Journal of Headache 2012, 32 (14): 1041-8

BACKGROUND: Converging neuropsychological evidence suggests that in migraine executive functions (EF) may be affected during interictal periods.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the functional connectivity of the fronto-parietal networks (FPN) known to be associated with EF, in migraine without aura (MwoA) patients, in the interictal period, in comparison to healthy controls (HC).

METHODS: Using resting-state functional MRI (RS-fMRI), we compared functional connectivity within the FPN in 14 patients with MwoA versus 14 sex- and age-matched HC, and assessed the correlation between functional connectivity within FPN, clinical features of MwoA patients, and EF. We used voxel-based morphometry to assess whether between-group differences in functional connectivity were dependent on structural differences.

RESULTS: Neuropsychological data revealed no significant executive dysfunction in MwoA patients. RS-fMRI showed that MwoA patients, compared to HC, had significant functional connectivity reduction within the right FPN and specifically in the middle frontal gyrus (MFG) and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex. In addition, we found that MFG reduced connectivity was negatively correlated with the pain intensity of migraine attacks. There were no structural differences between the two groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that, even in the absence of clinically evident EF deficits, MwoA is associated with reduced FPN functional connectivity. This study provides further insights into the complex scenario of migraine mechanisms.

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