Migraine is an incapacitating neurological disorder that predominantly affects women. Sex and other hormones (e.g., oxytocin, and prolactin) may play a role in sexual dimorphic features of migraine. Initially, prolactin was recognized for its modulatory action in milk production and secretion; later, its roles in the regulation of the endocrine, immune and nervous systems were discovered. Higher prolactin levels in individuals with migraine were found in earlier studies, with a female sex-dominant trend. Studies that are more recent have identified that the expression of prolactin receptor in response to neuronal excitability and stress depends on sex with a dominant role in females. These findings have opened up potentials for explanation of sex-related pathophysiology of migraine, but have left some unanswered questions. This focused review examines the past and present of the link between prolactin and migraine, and presents open questions and directions for future experimental and clinical efforts.
© 2021 Parisa Gazerani.