MicroRNAs have emerged as important biomarkers and modulators of pathophysiological processes including oncogenesis and neurodegeneration. MicroRNAs are found to be involved in the generation and maintenance of pain in animal models of inflammation and neuropathic pain. Recently, microRNA dysregulation has been reported in patients with painful conditions such as complex regional pain syndrome and fibromyalgia. The aim of this study was to assess whether serum microRNA alterations occur during migraine attacks and whether migraine manifests in chronic serum microRNA aberrations. Two cohorts of 24 migraineurs, and age- and sex-matched healthy controls were included. High-content serum microRNA (miRNA) arrays were used to assess the serum microRNA profiles of migraineurs during attacks and pain-free periods in comparison with healthy controls. Of the 372 assessed microRNAs, 32 or ≈ 8 % were found to be differentially expressed and 4 of these—miR-34a-5p, 29c-5p, -382-5p, and -26b-3p—were selected for further investigation. Migraine attacks were associated with an acute upregulation in miR-34a-5p and miR-382-5p expression. Interestingly, miR-382-5p not only exhibited an upregulation during attack but also proved to be a biomarker for migraine when comparing migraineurs in pain-free periods to the healthy control group (p = <0.01). In conclusion, migraine manifestation is reflected in serum miRNA aberrations, both during attacks and pain-free periods. This finding sheds light on the potential role of microRNAs in the pathophysiology of migraine and adds a new approach towards potential identification of much sought-after serum biomarkers of migraine.
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Grosserer L. F. Foghts Fond (grant no.: 20734) and the Danish Research Council (DRC; grant no.: 831301) provided financial support. The Novo Nordisk Scholarship Grant of 2013 supported Hjalte. H. Andersen.
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Andersen, H.H., Duroux, M. & Gazerani, P. Serum MicroRNA Signatures in Migraineurs During Attacks and in Pain-Free Periods. Mol Neurobiol 53, 1494–1500 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12035-015-9106-5