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Proteins May Serve as Migraine Bio-Marker

Obesity-related proteins called adipokines may serve as biomarkers for the pain associated with migraine and migraine treatment response, according to information presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Pain Management last month.

“This is exciting research and while further studies … are needed, I think it has great potential,” said lead author B. Lee Peterlin, DO, an associate professor of neurology and director of headache research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

In their early work to better understand how migraine and obesity are linked, Dr. Peterlin and her colleagues found that migraineurs had higher serum levels of adiponectin, which is secreted through fat tissue and is important in energy homeostasis and inflammation. Homeostasis is the tendency of a system to maintain internal stability.

More recently, these researchers undertook a small study of 34 patients and found that there was a significant correlation between adipokine levels and pain intensity.

“What we found was for every unit of increase in some of these adipokines, there was an increase in pain trajectories,” Dr. Peterlin said at the meeting, as quoted in Medscape Medical News.

Additionally, Dr. Peterlin and colleagues found that during migraine treatment, adiponectin — an adipokine — decreased dramatically in patients who responded to treatment, while in non-responders, adiponectin increased after treatment. Similarly, resistin, another adipokine, also declined in responders compared with non-responders, although not as dramatically.

Because there are no diagnostic tests for migraine, these findings could have important clinical applications, Dr. Peterlin and other experts say, as adipokine levels may provide an important biomarker for the disorder.

The most recent study about this research appeared in the journal Neurology.

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