Medical College of Wisconsin
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Flow cytometric analysis of lymphocyte subsets in migraine patients during and outside of an acute headache attack. Cephalalgia 1998 May;18(4):197-201 PMID: 9642494

Pubmed ID



We have conducted flow cytometric studies of two subsets of lymphocyte markers in groups of migraineurs during (n = 12; group B) and outside (n = 10; group C) of a migraine without aura attack (total n = 22; group A), including a group of patients tested in both of these phases (n = 5; group D), and compared these results with those obtained from a population of age-comparable, sex- and race-matched healthy volunteers (n = 12; group E). Comparison of the first set of lymphocytes (CD3+CD16 + 56+, CD3-CD16 + 56+, CD3-CD19+, CD3+CD19+, and CD3+HLA - DR+) between the patients in group A and the controls (group E) showed differences, reflecting greater group A percentages of CD3+CD16 + CD56+ and CD3-CD19+ lymphocytes. Furthermore, these differences reached statistical significance only for the CD3+CD16 + CD56+ lymphocytes, and then solely for the patients in group C (Scheffe's test, p < 0.05). Paired analysis of the above lymphocyte markers for subjects in group D failed to show significant differences between patients when they were having and not having a migraine attack, raising the possibility that results from a larger study could show meaningful increases in percentages of CD3+CD16 + CD56+ lymphocytes as one of the immune parameters useful for differentiating migraineurs from controls. Comparison of a second set of lymphocyte markers (CD19+CD5+, CD20+CD72-, CD20-CD72+, CD20+CD72+) among either the different groups of patients or between the patients and controls failed, however, to show statistically significant differences, emphasizing the apparent specificity of the findings described above for CD3+CD16 + CD56+ lymphocytes. Our results, albeit of a preliminary nature, suggest the occurrence of significant, differential changes in lymphocyte subset immunophenotyping between groups of pain-free migraineurs and patients during an acute migraine episode or controls. Corroboration of these findings may prove useful in clinical laboratory practice to identify changes in immunological parameters specifically associated with migraineurs, and help towards a better understanding of the etiology and pathophysiology of this condition.

Author List

Mosnaim AD, Kulaga H, Adams AJ, Wolf ME, Puente J, Freitag F, Diamond S


Frederick G. Freitag DO Associate Professor in the Neurology department at Medical College of Wisconsin


2-s2.0-0031843098   14 Citations

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Acute Disease
Flow Cytometry
Lymphocyte Count
Lymphocyte Subsets
Middle Aged
Migraine Disorders
Pain Measurement
jenkins-FCD Prod-332 f92a19b0ec5e8e1eff783fac390ec127e367c2b5