Differences in early and late pattern-onset visual-evoked potentials between self- reported migraineurs and controls

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Abstract

Striped patterns have been shown to induce strong visual illusions and discomforts to migraineurs in previous literature. Previous research has suggested that these unusual visual symptoms to be linked with the hyperactivity on the visual cortex of migraine sufferers. The present study searched for evidence supporting this hypothesis by comparing the visual evoked potentials (VEPs) elicited by striped patterns of specific spatial frequencies (0.5, 3, and 13 cycles-per-degree) between a group of 29 migraineurs (17 with aura/12 without) and 31 non-migraineurs. In addition, VEPs to the same stripped patterns were compared between non-migraineurs who were classified as hyperexcitable versus non-hyperexcitable using a previously established behavioural pattern glare task. We found that the migraineurs had a significantly increased N2 amplitude for stimuli with 13 cpd gratings but an attenuated late negativity (LN: 400 – 500 ms after the stimuli onset) for all the spatial frequencies. Interestingly, non-migraineurs who scored as hyperexcitable appeared to have similar response patterns to the migraineurs, albeit in an attenuated form. We propose that the enhanced N2 could reflect disruption of the balance between parvocellular and magnocellular pathway, which is in support of the cortical hyperexcitation hypothesis in migraineurs. In addition, the attenuation of the late negativity could reflect a top-down feedback mechanism to suppress visual processing of an aversive stimulus.

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Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2019