Neuronal complexity in a migraine model: Amynah Pradhan, PhD

WATCHING TIME: 4 minutes

“It’s really important to understand that the neurons in our brain aren’t just static, two-dimensional things. In fact, they are constantly moving, changing and reacting to the environment around them. This means that they send out neurites and they retract neurites. So when we say there is a decrease in neural complexity in these models, it means that they may be somehow less flexible and less responsive to their environment.

At the 2022 American Headache Society (AHS) Annual Scientific Meeting, June 9-11, in Denver, Colorado, Amynah Pradhan, PhD, delivered this year’s Harold G. Wolff Award Lecture, focusing on his work and that of his colleagues on migraine and peripheral pain models which showed that there are differential alterations in neuronal complexity. Notably, the results suggest that these distinct cytoarchitectural changes occurring may underlie the chronification of migraine.1

Using a nitroglycerin model of migraine-associated chronic pain, mice were given 10 mg/kg nitroglycerin every other day for 9 days, with widespread cortical depression – a physiological correlate of migraine aura – induced in mice anesthetized with potassium chloride. Pradhan and colleagues observed increased neural complexity in the thalamus, but no change in the amygdala or caudate putamen, in contrast to previous work in their model.

To learn more about the results and clinical implications of these critical basic science assessments, NeurologyLive® spoke with Pradhan, who is an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She offered some background on her and her colleague’s study and provided clinical context to the results that were presented at this year’s meeting.

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1. Pradhan A. Harold G. Wolff Prize Lecture: Migraine and Peripheral Pain Models Show Differential Alterations in Neural Complexity. Presented at the AHS Annual Scientific Meeting; June 9-11, 2022; Denver, Colorado.

Sharon D. Cole