Plasma levels of vasoactive neuropeptides in pediatric patients with migraine during attack and attack-free periods
Kilinc, Yasemin Baranoglu
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Background Increasing evidence suggests that vasoactive neuropeptides such as pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide-38 (PACAP-38), substance P, calcitonin gene-related peptide, and vasoactive intestinal peptide are involved in the pathophysiology of migraine in adults, but their role in pediatric migraineurs remains unclear. We prospectively investigated plasma levels of these vasoactive neuropeptides in pediatric migraine patients without aura and compared the results with those of age-matched healthy controls. Methods Thirty-eight children aged 6-18 years with migraine without aura and 20 age-matched control subjects were included in the study. Neuropeptides in plasma samples from the controls, and in either the ictal or interictal periods in pediatric migraine without aura, were measured using ELISA. Results PACAP-38 and vasoactive intestinal peptide levels in both ictal and interictal plasma were higher in the patients with pediatric migraine without aura than in the controls (p < 0.001), although calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance P levels remained unchanged. Otherwise, no significant difference was determined between ictal and interictal periods in terms of all neuropeptide levels. Conclusions This study demonstrates increased plasma PACAP-38 and vasoactive intestinal peptide levels, but not calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance P levels, in pediatric patients with migraine during both attack and attack-free periods. The study findings suggest that PACAP-38 and vasoactive intestinal peptide may be implicated in the pathophysiology of migraine, particularly in pediatric migraineurs.