It is well known that migraine is far more represented in females than in males. However, this gender-related difference is present only during reproductive life since in prepubertal children, migraine prevalence figures are independent of sex. Thus, transition to puberty accounts for changes which render females more susceptible to migraine attacks. In females, the main driver of the hormonal events allowing sexual maturation is the pulsatile secretion of hypothalamic LHRH modulated by opioid activity. Clinical reports suggest that migraine attacks could be prevented by the abolition of this neurohormonal secretion. On the other hand, several clinical and experimental observations have focused on neuroendocrine systems (opiatergic, serotonergic, adrenergic) as participating in the constitution of the so-called "migraine trait", the biological predisposition in patients that would explain their sensitivity to migraine triggers. Such neuroendocrine secretions are mainly dependent upon hypothalamic activity where a sexual dimorphic nucleus has been discovered in the preoptic area. We suggest that the sexual dimorphism of migraine should be sought in hypothalamic networks related to LHRH secretion.
Hypothalamic resetting at puberty and the sexual dimorphism of migraine / Facchinetti, Fabio; L., Sgarbi; F., Piccinini. - In: FUNCTIONAL NEUROLOGY. - ISSN 0393-5264. - STAMPA. - 15 Suppl 3:(2000), pp. 137-142.