Skip to main content


Volume 16 Supplement 1

1st Joint ANIRCEF-SISC Congress

  • Invited speaker presentation
  • Open Access

Laser evoked potentials and central sensitization in migraine

  • 1Email author,
  • 2,
  • 1,
  • 1,
  • 1 and
  • 1
The Journal of Headache and Pain201516 (Suppl 1) :A17

  • Published:


  • Migraine
  • Botulinum Toxin
  • Migraine Attack
  • Central Sensitization
  • Chronic Migraine

Migraine is a disabling disorder of neuro-vascular origin. An abnormal neuronal excitability, largely based on genetic nature, is a predisposing factor to attack onset. A reduced habituation to multimodal repetitive non nociceptive stimuli was observed in migraine. The pattern of reduced habituation to nociceptive stimuli may favor the increase of pain and the phenomena of central sensitization. Central sensitization is a phenomenon of pain processing, which may predispose to chronic pain. Allodynia occurring during migraine attack and persistent pericranial tenderness in migraine are symptoms of central sensitization[1, 2]. CO2 laser evoked potentials (LEPs) have been used in migraine research, proving very useful in demonstrating functional abnormalities of the central nociceptive system which might be linked to the pathophysiological mechanisms of this disease. Abnormalities of pain processing seem to characterize children with migraine. Reduced habituation and progressive amplification of cortical responses under laser stimuli indicate an overactive nociceptive system just at the onset of migraine, which may subtend symptoms of central sensitization as allodynia and pericranial tenderness. An abnormal pattern of habituation of the trigeminal nociceptive system is an endophenotypic marker of migraine[3], suggesting that the nociceptive system is prone to sensitization even before clinical appearance[4]. These aspects may guide therapeutic approach: in a recent work in which we explored the efficacy of botulinum toxin in the treatment of chronic migraine, we found a correlation of the clinical effect with an improvement of the LEPs habituation deficit. The modes of action of pharmacological or nonpharmacological interventions, such as neuromodulation methods, should therefore be reconsidered in terms of their ability to normalize the complex abnormalities of brain hyperresponsivity and the central sensitization phenomena.

Authors’ Affiliations

Neurophysiopathology of Pain Unit, University “Aldo Moro”, Bari, Italy
Pediatric Neurology Division, Bari Policlinico General Hospital, Bari, Italy


  1. Buchgreitz L, Lyngberg AC, Bendtsen L, Jensen R: Increased pain sensitivity is not a risk factor but a consequence of frequent headache: a population-based follow-up study. Pain. 2008, 137: 623-630. 10.1016/j.pain.2007.10.023.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Burstein R, Yarnitsky D, Goor-Aryeh I, Ransil BJ, Bajwa ZH: An association between migraine and cutaneous allodynia. Ann Neurol. 2000, 47: 614-624. 10.1002/1531-8249(200005)47:5<614::AID-ANA9>3.0.CO;2-N.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Di Clemente L, Coppola G, Magis D, Fumal A, De Pasqua V, Di Piero V, Schoenen J: Interictal habituation deficit of the nociceptive blink reflex: an endophenotypic marker for presymptomatic migraine?. Brain. 2007, 130[Pt 3]: 765-70.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  4. de Tommaso M, Sciruicchio V, Ricci K, Montemurno A, Gentile F, Vecchio E, Foschino Barbaro MG, Simeoni M, Goffredo M, Livrea P: Laser evoked potentials habituation and central sensitization symptoms in childhood migraine. Cephalalgia. 2015.Google Scholar


© Vecchio et al. 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate. Please note that comments may be removed without notice if they are flagged by another user or do not comply with our community guidelines.