Vol 46, No 2 (2012)

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A single-fibre electromyography study of neuromuscular transmission in patients with cluster headache

Izabela Domitrz1, Małgorzata Gaweł1, Wojciech Domitrz2, Anna Kostera-Pruszczyk1, Hubert Kwieciński1
DOI: 10.5114/ninp.2012.28256
Neurol Neurochir Pol 2012;46(2):140-144.


Background and purpose

Mutations of CACNA1A, which encodes a neuronal P/Q Ca2+ channel, are present in patients with familial hemiplegic migraine, and possibly in other types of migraine as well. This calcium channel is also involved in neuromuscular transmission. In our previous study we confirmed that the single-fibre electromyography (SFEMG) method can demonstrate a neuromuscular transmission deficit in migraine with aura. The aim of our present study was to estimate the neurotransmitter dysfunction in cluster headache and to compare the results between patients with cluster headache and those with migraine with aura.

Material and methods

We selected 6 patients with cluster headache and 6 patients with migraine with typical aura. SFEMG of the voluntarily activated extensor digitorum communis muscle was performed.


The SFEMG results were in the normal range in the cluster headache group and in the healthy controls. Slight neuromuscular transmission disturbances were present in patients with migraine with aura.


The abnormal neuromuscular transmission detectable by SFEMG may reflect a genetically determined dysfunction of the P/Q Ca2+ channels in a group of migraineurs with aura. Conversely, absence of neuromuscular abnormalities in cluster headache patients could be explained by different aetiology not resulting in channelopathy. Single-fibre electromyography could be a helpful tool in clinically questionable cases in differentiating between cluster headache and migraine with aura.

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Neurologia i Neurochirurgia Polska