Altered Hypothalamic Region Covariance in Migraine and Cluster Headache: A Structural MRI Study

Catherine D. Chong, Maria Aguilar, Todd J. Schwedt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives: The hypothalamus plays a key role in both migraine and cluster headache (CH). As brain region-to-region structural correlations are believed to reflect structural and functional brain connectivity patterns, we assessed the structural covariance patterns between the volume of the hypothalamic region and vertex-by-vertex measurements of cortical thickness in patients with migraine and in those with CH relative to healthy controls (HC). Methods: T1-weighted images were acquired on a 3T MRI scanner for a total of 59 subjects including 18 patients with CH (age: mean = 43.8, SD = 12.4), 19 with migraine (age: mean = 40.1, SD = 12.2), and 22 HCs (age: mean = 39.1, SD = 8.2). Imaging was collected between attacks (migraineurs) and during out-of-bout phases (CH). Data were post-processed using FreeSurfer version 6.0 and within-group correlations between hypothalamic region volume with cortical thickness were explored using a whole-brain vertex-wise linear model approach. Between-group differences in correlation slopes between hypothalamic region volume and vertex-by-vertex measurements of cortical thickness were interrogated using post-hoc comparisons. Results: There were no significant between-group differences (migraine vs CH; migraine vs HC; or CH vs HC) for age, sex, total brain volume or volume of the left or right hypothalamic region. For each group, there were significant positive correlations (P <.01) between right and left hypothalamic region volumes with cortical thickness measurements. HC had significant positive correlations between hypothalamic region volume and cortical thickness over large portions of the superior and rostral medial frontal, orbitofrontal cortex and rostral anterior cingulate, and smaller clusters in the superior and middle temporal, posterior cingulate, fusiform, and precentral cortex. Post-hoc analysis showed significant differences in covariance patterns in those with migraine and CH relative to HC, with both migraine patients and CH having weaker structural covariance of hypothalamic region volume with frontal and temporal cortical thickness. Conclusion: Recent evidence suggests hypothalamic region connectivity to frontal and temporal areas to be relevant for regulating pain perception. Thus, the diminished structural covariance in migraineurs and CH might suggest abnormal functioning of the pain control circuitry and contribute to mechanisms underlying central sensitization and chronification of pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-563
Number of pages11
JournalHeadache
Volume60
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

Keywords

  • cluster headache
  • hypothalamus
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • migraine
  • pain modulation
  • structural connectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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