Posted on Aug 15, 2018, 3 p.m.
Sex hormones such as estrogen may be responsible for greater prevalence of migraines among women, as published in Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences.
Potential mechanisms for migraine causation to possibly explain why women experience more migraines than men is suggested by scientists to be sex hormones affecting cells around the trigeminal nerve and connected blood vessels in the head, with particular importance of estrogens being at highest levels within women of reproductive age sensitizing these cells to trigger migraines providing scientists with potential promising new route to treatment.
Significant differences were observed in experimental in vitro and rodent models of migraines between male and females, scientists are trying to gain better understandings of molecular correlates responsible for the differences, which is a complex process thought to involve modulation of trigeminovascular system by sex hormones playing roles not yet properly addressed.
Decades of literature on sex hormones, migraine sensitivity, and cell response to migraine triggers were reviewed to identify roles of specific hormones. Some were found to protect against and some to worsen migraines via making cell ion channel reactions to outside stimuli either less or more vulnerable to migraine triggers.
More research and longitudinal studies are needed to determine roles of sex hormones, but according to the scientists estrogen stands out as a prime candidate to gain better understanding of migraine occurrence which was identified as factor via greater prevalence of migraines among menstruating women and association with some types of migraines with cycle related changes in hormone levels. Preliminary evidence suggests estrogen and changes in its levels sensitize cells around the trigeminal nerve to stimuli making it easier to trigger migraine attacks.
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“TRP Channels as Potential Targets for Sex-Related Differences in Migraine Pain” by Maite Artero-Morales, Sara González-Rodríguez and Antonio Ferrer-Montiel in Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences Published August 14 2018.