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Plasma 5-Hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) in Migraine During an Attack-Free Period

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Objective.—We measured the plasma 5-HT, 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), and tryptophan levels in controls, migraine patients with aura (MWA), and migraine patients without aura (MWoA) during an attack-free period.

Background.—Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) has been implicated in the pathophysiology of migraine. The precise relationship between 5-HT and migraine, however, remains unclear.

Methods.—Blood samples in controls, MWA, and MWoA patients during an attack-free period were collected from brachial arteries and analyzed using HPLC.

Results.—The plasma tryptophan and 5-HTP levels were not significantly different between the controls and migraine patients (either MWA or MWoA). However, the plasma 5-HT level in the MWA patients was significantly lower than that in the controls and MWoA patients.

Conclusions.—The present data suggest that reduced levels of 5-HT in MWA may result from either a dysfunction in the enzymes involved in serotonin biosynthesis or a dysfunction in 5-HT release or uptake from platelets and lymphocytes. These findings indicate the existence of a serotonin metabolism dysfunction in MWA patients that may differ from the state of serotonin metabolism in MWoA patients.

(Headache 2006;46:592-596)
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Keywords: 5-hydroxytryptophan; migraine with aura; serotonin; tryptophan

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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