Non-rapid eye movement sleep parasomnias and migraine: A role of orexinergic projections

Margherita Salerno, Agata Maltese, Lucia Parisi, Michele Roccella, Giovanni Messina, Gabriella Marsala, Francesco Precenzano, Christian Zammit, Antonietta Messina, Serena Marianna Lavano, Vincenzo Monda, Francesco Lavano, Anna Valenzano, Ines Villano, Monica Salerno, Francesco Sessa, Giuseppe Davide Albano, Ilaria Bitetti, Giuseppe Cibelli, Diego IaconoBeatrice Gallai, Roberto Toraldo, Marcellino Monda, Marco Carotenuto, Rosa Marotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: Sleep and migraine share a common pathophysiological substrate, although the underlying mechanisms are unknown. The serotonergic and orexinergic systems are both involved in the regulation of sleep/wake cycle, and numerous studies show that both are involved in the migraine etiopathogenesis. These two systems are anatomically and functionally interconnected. Our hypothesis is that in migraine a dysfunction of orexinergic projections on the median raphe (MR) nuclei, interfering with serotonergic regulation, may cause Non-Rapid Eye Movement parasomnias, such as somnambulism. Hypothesis/theory: Acting on the serotonergic neurons of the raphe nuclei, the dysfunction of orexinergic neurons would lead to a higher release of serotonin. The activation of serotonergic receptors located on the walls of large cerebral vessels would lead to abnormal vasodilatation and consequently increase transmural pressure. This process could activate the trigeminal nerve terminals that innervate vascular walls. As a consequence, there is activation of sensory nerve endings at the level of hard vessels in the meninges, with release of pro-inflammatory peptides (e.g., substance P and CGRP). Within this hypothetical frame, the released serotonin could also interact with trigeminovascular afferents to activate and/or facilitate the release of the neuropeptide at the level of the trigeminal ganglion. The dysregulation of the physiological negative feedback of serotonin on the orexinergic neurons, in turn, would contribute to an alteration of the whole system, altering the sleep-wake cycle. Conclusion: Serotonergic neurons of the MR nuclei receive an excitatory input from hypothalamic orexin/hypocretin neurons and reciprocally inhibit orexin/hypocretin neurons through the serotonin 1A receptor (or 5-HT1A receptor). Considering this complex system, if there is an alteration it may facilitate the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in the migraine, while it may produce at the same time an alteration of the sleep-wake rhythm, causing sleep disorders such as sleepwalking. Understanding the complex mechanisms underlying migraine and sleep disorders and how these mechanisms can interact with each other, it would be crucial to pave the way for new therapeutic strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Volume9
Publication statusPublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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