Is Migraine a Lipid Disorder?
Written by Editor   
Monday, October 19, 2015 12:00 AM

New research has suggested that migraine may be associated with irregularities in the metabolism of certain lipids, opening up new avenues for research into possible treatments and biomarkers for the condition.  The research focused on a group of bioactive lipids known as sphingolipids, which are critical components of cell membranes and also play a role in regulating energy homeostasis, apoptosis, and inflammation.

Neurologic disorders that are the result of severe deficiencies in enzymes that regulate sphingolipid metabolism have long been described (eg, Gaucher disease), and recent studies have suggested that even subtle changes of sphingolipid balance may be involved in dementia, multiple sclerosis, obesity, and pain.  Now they also are reporting a study showing changes in sphingolipid levels in patients with migraine, implicating in particular two sphingolipid subtypes: ceramide and sphingomyelin.

"Taken together, our findings suggest it is possible that migraine is a neurologic disorder of 'minor' sphingolipid dysmetabolism," they conclude. "Further research, validating the ceramide and sphingomyelin associations with migraine, as well as research examining mechanisms for these associations, may advance our understanding of migraine pathophysiology and open possibilities of the identification of novel migraine biomarkers and targeted drug therapies directed against sphingolipid pathways."