Volume 16 Supplement 1

1st Joint ANIRCEF-SISC Congress

Open Access

O026. An abnormal transduction of the chromatic stimuli from the outer to the inner retinal layers may contribute to cause photophobia in migraine

  • Gianluca Coppola1Email author,
  • Luisella Corso2,
  • Antonio Di Renzo1,
  • Antonello Fadda3,
  • Francesco Martelli3,
  • Cherubino Di Lorenzo4,
  • Vincenzo Parisi1,
  • Jean Schoenen5,
  • Benedetto Falsini6 and
  • Francesco Pierelli2
The Journal of Headache and Pain201516(Suppl 1):A54


Published: 28 September 2015

The Erratum to this article has been published in The Journal of Headache and Pain 2017 18:11


Recent experimental evidence points out a possible involvement of outer and inner retinal layers in hypersensitivity of migraine patients to light stimuli. To investigate the short-wavelength-sensitive (S) and the medium/long-wavelength-sensitive (ML) cone photoreceptors of the visual pathways in migraine without aura (MO) patients between attacks and in healthy volunteers (HV) by using yellow-blue (Y-B) or red-blue (R-B) visual flicker stimuli.


Square-wave focal electroretinograms (FERGs) were recorded in 22 MO patients and 20 HV. For each randomly presented flicker stimulation protocol (Y-B or R-B), 600 sweeps (4 Hz repetition rate) were recorded and partitioned in 6 blocks of 100. Fourier analysis allowed extracting from the FERG data the fundamental (1F) and the second harmonic (2F) components (amplitude and phase) that are related respectively to outer and inner retinal activity. Usual headache severity and photophobia during migraine were scored on a 0 to 10 visual analogue scale.


When compared to HV, MO patients had an advanced 1F phase but normal amplitude in all blocks of Y-B FERG. In MO patients, the self-rated intensity of ictal photophobia was positively correlated with attack frequency (r = 0.571, p = 0.01), headache severity (r = 0.508, p = 0.03), 1F Y-B phase (all blocks r = 0.487, p = 0.04), 1F R-B phase (r = 0.521, p = 0.03), 2F Y-B amplitude (all r = 0.610, p < 0.01), habituation slope (r = 0.686, p < 0.01), and 2F R-B phase (r = 0.526, p = 0.03).


These results suggest that an abnormal signal transduction from the outer to the inner retinal layers could contribute to the mechanisms by which light causes pain or discomfort during the migraine headache.

Written informed consent to publication was obtained from the patient(s).


Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Neurophysiology of Vision and Neuro-ophthalmology, G.B. Bietti Foundation IRCCS
Department of medico-surgical sciences and biotechnologies, “Sapienza” University of Rome Polo Pontino
Dipartimento Tecnologie e Salute, Istituto Superiore di Sanità
Don Carlo Gnocchi Onlus Foundation
Headache Research Unit, Department of Neurology-CHR Citadelle, University of Liège
Catholic University of S. Cuore


© Coppola et al. 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.