Migraine is a very painful, disabling and extremely common disorder among the world’s adult population, especially women, and it is associated with a variety of comorbidities. Neuroactive steroids exhibit pleiotropic actions on the nervous system. Alterations in their peripheral and central levels could be involved in the pathogenesis, still not fully understood, of migraine and its comorbidities. The purpose of our exploratory study was to determine and compare the serum levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), 5α-dihydroprogesterone (DHP) and pregnenolone (PREGNE) between women suffering from migraine without aura (MO group, n = 30) and age-matched non-headache women as controls (C group, n = 30). Correlations with age, migraine years and frequency were also analyzed. The patients were enrolled at a headache center; controls were patients’ contacts. Calibrators and serum samples were spiked with the internal standards (ISs) solution and treated to deplete proteins and phospholipids. The obtained extracts were evaporated to dryness, derivatized and analyzed by LC-MS/MS in multiple reaction monitoring mode. Analytes’ levels were determined by interpolation on the regression curves, generated from the analyte quantifier ion peak area to the corresponding IS. MO group presented significantly lower levels of DHEAS, DHEA and DHP compared to C group (P < 0.05, Student't-test) and the neurosteroid levels negatively correlated with years of migraine and migraine days/3 months (P < 0.05, linear regression analysis). These results parallel to previous studies showing reduced serum levels of allopregnanolone and pregnenolone sulfate in women with migraine. The low serum levels found for both excitatory and inhibitory neurosteroids suggested that women with migraine might suffer from inadequate neuroprotection, anti-inflammation activity and pain modulation. These deficits might underlie the migraine chronification process and represent the link between migraine and its various comorbidities.
Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.