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September 1971

Histamine and Serotonin in Cluster Headache

Author Affiliations

Sydney, Australia
From the Division of Neurology, the Prince Henry and Prince of Wales Hospitals, and the School of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

Arch Neurol. 1971;25(3):225-231. doi:10.1001/archneur.1971.00490030051005

Whole blood histamine was estimated before, during, and after 22 attacks of cluster headaches, and plasma serotonin was studied in 30 such headaches. The results were compared with changes in blood levels of both amines during headache in ten migrainous subjects and in ten controls. In cluster headache, whole blood histamine levels showed a statistically significant rise during the attack, whereas plasma serotonin levels showed a slight nonsignificant elevation. During migraine, plasma levels of serotonin fell, this fall being statistically highly significant. Whole blood histamine levels showed a statistically significant elevation only during postheadache period. In normal subjects, no significant fluctuation in blood levels of both amines was observed over a period of six hours. It is suggested that the characteristic clinical and biochemical profile of cluster headache clearly differentiate it from migraine.

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