Migraine and Ischemic Stroke: Deciphering the Bidirectional Pathway

Swapnil Raut, Upasna Singh, Deepaneeta Sarmah, Aishika Datta, Falguni Baidya, Birva Shah, Mariya Bohra, Priya Jagtap, Ankan Sarkar, Kiran Kalia, Anupom Borah, Kunjan R. Dave, Dileep R. Yavagal, Pallab Bhattacharya

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Migraine and stroke are common, disabling neurological conditions with several theories being proposed to explain this bidirectional relationship. Migraine is considered as a benign neurological disorder, but research has revealed a connection between migraine and stroke, predominantly those having migraine with aura (MA). Among migraineurs, females with MA are more susceptible to ischemic stroke and may have a migrainous infarction. Migrainous infarction mostly occurs in the posterior circulation of young women. Although there are several theories about the potential relationship between MA and stroke, the precise pathological process of migrainous infarction is not clear. It is assumed that cortical spreading depression (CSD) might be one of the essential factors for migrainous infarction. Other factors that may contribute to migrainous infarction may be genetic, hormonal fluctuation, hypercoagulation, and right to left cardiac shunts. Antimigraine drugs, such as ergot alkaloids and triptans, are widely used in migraine care. Still, they have been found to cause severe vasoconstriction, which may result in the development of ischemia. It is reported that patients with stroke develop migraines during the recovery phase. Both experimental and clinical data suggest that cerebral microembolism can act as a potential trigger for MA. Further studies are warranted for the treatment of migraine, which may lead to a decline in migraine-related stroke. In this present article, we have outlined various potential pathways that link migraine and stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1525-1538
Number of pages14
JournalACS Chemical Neuroscience
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 3 2020


  • Antimigraine drugs
  • CSD
  • Cerebral microembolism
  • Estrogen
  • Ischemic stroke
  • Migraine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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