Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep deprivation leads to changes in the levels of key proteins that facilitate events involved in the underlying pathology of migraine, a new study has found.

Paul L. Dunham and his team at Missouri State University’s Centre for Biomedical & Life Sciences sought to understand the mechanisms by which sleep disturbance increases the risk of migraine and may even trigger migraine.

“Previous clinical data support a relationship between sleep quality and migraine, so we used an established model of sleep deprivation to measure levels of proteins that lower the activation threshold of peripheral and central nerves involved in pain transmission during migraine,” said Dr. Durham.

“We found that REM sleep deprivation caused increased expression of the proteins p38, PKA, and P2X3, which are known to play an important role in initiating and sustaining chronic pain,” Dr. Durham added.

The study has been reported at the American Headache Society’s 52nd Annual Scientific Meeting in Los Angeles this week.

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