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The Journal of Headache and Pain

Official Journal of the "European Headache Federation" and of "Lifting The Burden - The Global Campaign against Headache"

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Open Access

SUNCT and high nocturnal prolactin levels: some new unusual characteristics

  • Domenico Bosco1Email author,
  • Angelo Labate2,
  • Pasquale Mungari3,
  • Sergio Vero4 and
  • Antonietta Fava5
The Journal of Headache and Pain20078:370

Received: 8 October 2006

Accepted: 7 December 2006

Published: 11 May 2007


SUNCT is a rare condition characterised by a short-lasting periorbital pain associated with autonomic symptoms and is usually unresponsive to pharmacological treatment. We report a case of SUNCT syndrome linked to a pituitary micro-adenoma, with only nocturnal attacks. The nocturnal levels of prolactin (PRL) were increased, while other hormonal, haematological, serological and biochemical investigations and levels of PRL did not reveal abnormal findings during the day-time. PRL serum secretion after thyrotropin-releasing hormone test was lower than nocturnal secretion, but not enough to induce severe attacks. We suggest that in our patient the rise of nocturnal levels of PRL could have a direct role in the worsening of this headache, perhaps secondarily to an altered regulation of the hypothalamic–hypophysial axis, however the actual influence of sleep and the interaction between all neurotransmitters and hormones needs to be clarified further.


SUNCHyperprolactinaemiaNocturnal headachesSUNCT and neuro-endocrine disorders


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