Could leaky blood vessels be a target for treating migraines? Study by Dr. Baptiste Lacoste opens up promising new area of research

Publié le vendredi 7 septembre 2018

Migraine headaches are often accompanied by electrical waves that slowly move across the brain, causing flashes of light and other visual disturbances. Referred to as “migraine aura”, this phenomenon also affects the brain’s blood vessels, allowing large molecules from the blood to leak into the brain and cause inflammation and damage. New research led by Drs. Baptiste Lacoste, Cenk Ayata and Chenghua Gu reveals for the first time exactly how the blood-brain barrier opens during a migraine attack, and how to stop it. Using a mouse model, they found that six hours after the start of an aura, there was a 50 percent increase in the movement of tiny fluid-filled vesicles across the brain’s blood vessels. This process, called transcytosis, caused blood plasma to leak into the brain. They also found that a compound called fasudil, which is already used in humans to treat pulmonary hypertension and cerebral vasospasms, could block this phenomenon and prevent the blood-brain barrier from opening. Future research could lead to new treatments for migraine and other brain conditions such as stroke. Annals of Neurology published the research and its September cover will feature an image by Dr. Lacoste

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