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Sex Dimorphism and Migraine Incidence

Sex Hormones May Play a Direct Role in Modulating Nociceptor Signaling

A data review conducted by researchers from the Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular, Universitas Miguel Hernández, Elche, Spain concludes that sex hormones may contribute to modulation of transient receptor potential (TRP) channels’ expression and activity, thereby impacting sensitization in migraine and other chronic pain conditions. This hormonal effect also suggests new pathways for drug intervention, according to the authors, who write that, “There is no doubt about the existence of a sex difference prevalence in chronic pain conditions such as migraine, where the prevalence in women is 2 or 3 times greater than in men. Although the specific molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying this sex dimorphism are still under intense investigation, a pivotal role of sex hormones regulating the somatosensory system appears clear.” The review was published earlier this month in Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences.

The research examined the effect of sex hormones in modulation of thermoTRP channels. Previous work has suggested that sex hormones are involved in regulation of the immune system, while the current findings indicate their further involvement in regulating the expression of thermoTRP channels and signal pathways. A better understanding of the mechanism of this interaction may facilitate development of new therapeutic interventions; however, the authors conclude: “Nonetheless, it should be taken into consideration that sex hormones may not be the only players in determining sexual dimorphism in migraine pain, as this is a very complex phenomenon involving both gonadal-dependent and independent mechanisms that most likely complement each other in defining sex differences in migraine and chronic pain disorders.”

Read about the review conclusions.

The journal article may be read here.

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