Evaluation of MRI-derived cerebral 23Na concentrations in patients with migraine in comparison with healthy controls.
Materials and methods
In this case-control study, 24 female migraine patients (mean age, 34 ± 11 years) were enrolled after evaluation of standardized questionnaires. Half (n = 12) of the cohort suffered from migraine, the other half was impaired by both migraine and tension-type headaches (TTH). The combined patient cohort was matched to 12 healthy female controls (mean age, 34 ± 11 years). All participants underwent a cerebral 23Na-magnetic resonance imaging examination at 3.0 T, which included a T1w MP-RAGE sequence and a 3D density-adapted, radial gradient echo sequence for 23Na imaging. Circular regions of interests were placed in predetermined anatomic regions: cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), gray and white matter, brain stem, and cerebellum. External 23Na reference phantoms were used to calculate the total 23Na tissue concentrations. Pearson’s correlation, Kendall Tau, and Wilcoxon rank sum test were used for statistical analysis.
23Na concentrations of all patients in the CSF were significantly higher than in healthy controls (p < 0.001). The CSF of both the migraine and mixed migraine/TTH group showed significantly increased sodium concentrations compared to the control group (p = 0.007 and p < 0.001). Within the patient cohort, a positive correlation between pain level and TSC in the CSF (r = 0.62) could be observed.
MRI-derived cerebral 23Na concentrations in the CSF of migraine patients were found to be statistically significantly higher than in healthy controls.
• Cerebral sodium MRI supports the theory of ionic imbalances and may aid in the challenging pathophysiologic understanding of migraine.
• Case-control study shows significantly higher sodium concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid of migraineurs.
• Cerebral sodium MRI may become a non-invasive imaging tool for drugs to modulate sodium, and hence migraine, on a molecular level, and influence patient management.
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Fluid-attenuated inversion recovery
Magnetization-prepared rapid acquisition gradient echo
Magnetic resonance imaging
Total sodium concentration
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IRB approval: Medical Ethics Committee II Mannheim, Germany; reference number: 2013 566N – MA.
The authors state that this work has not received any funding.
The scientific guarantor of this publication is Melissa Meyer, MD.
Conflict of interest
The authors of this manuscript declare no relationships with any companies, whose products or services may be related to the subject matter of the article.
Statistics and biometry
One of the authors has significant statistical expertise.
Lothar R. Pilz, co-author.
Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany.
Written informed consent was obtained from all subjects (patients) in this study.
Institutional Review Board approval was obtained.
• case-control study
• performed at one institution
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Meyer, M.M., Schmidt, A., Benrath, J. et al. Cerebral sodium (23Na) magnetic resonance imaging in patients with migraine — a case-control study. Eur Radiol 29, 7055–7062 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00330-019-06299-1
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Cerebrospinal fluid