Volume 16 Supplement 1

1st Joint ANIRCEF-SISC Congress

Open Access

O043. Frequency-dependent habituation deficit of the nociceptive blink reflex in cluster headache and paroxysmal hemicrania

  • Armando Perrotta1Email author,
  • Maria Grazia Anastasio1, 2,
  • Gianluca Coppola2,
  • Anna Ambrosini1,
  • Roberto De Icco3,
  • Giorgio Sandrini3 and
  • Francesco Pierelli2
The Journal of Headache and Pain201516(Suppl 1):A91


Published: 28 September 2015

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


The habituation phenomenon is a frequency-dependent form of non-associative learning which reflects the excitability level of both sensory and pain systems. We previously demonstrated a frequency-dependent deficit of habituation of the conventional blink reflex in cluster headache (CH)[1]. We investigated the habituation of the trigeminal nociceptive system by studying the habituation of the late component (R2) of the nociceptive blink reflex (nBR) in a wide range of stimulation frequencies in CH and paroxysmal hemicrania (PH).


We studied 12 episodic CH patients during both, active and remission period, 12 PH patients and 20 controls. We delivered a series of 26 electrical stimuli, at different and randomly chosen stimulation frequencies (0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.5, and 1Hz), subsequently subdivided into five consecutive blocks of five averaged and rectified responses for each stimulation frequency. Habituation was measured as the percentage decrease of the mean area under the curve of the R2 component across the blocks.


A significant habituation deficit of the nBR was found at higher (1Hz and 0.5Hz) and intermediate (0.5 and 0.3Hz) frequencies in CH during both active and remission phase, as well as in PH, when compared to controls. No differences in the habituation rate were found at lower (0.1 and 0.05Hz) frequencies between patients and controls.


A frequency-dependent habituation deficit in trigeminal nociception was clearly detected in CH and PH, indicating a common abnormal processing of trigeminal nociception in these two different TACs. In addition, in CH this abnormal pain processing at trigeminal level is independent of the clinical activity of the pathology.

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


Authors’ Affiliations

Headache Clinic, IRCCS INM Neuromed
Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences and Biotechnologies, “Sapienza” University of Rome Polo Pontino
IRCCS Neurological National Institute C. Mondino


  1. Perrotta A, Serrao M, Sandrini G, Bogdanova D, Tassorelli C, Bartolo M, Coppola G, Pierelli F, Nappi G: Reduced habituation of trigeminal reflexes in patients with episodic cluster headache during cluster period. Cephalalgia. 2008, 28 (9): 950-9. 10.1111/j.1468-2982.2008.01631.x.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar


© Perrotta 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.