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BackgroundMigraine is a common brain disorder but reliable diagnostic biomarkers in blood are still lacking. Our aim was to identify, using proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) spectroscopy, metabolites in serum that are associated with lifetime and active migraine by comparing metabolic profiles of patients and controls.MethodsFasting serum samples from 313 migraine patients and 1512 controls from the Erasmus Rucphen Family (ERF) study were available for 1H-NMR spectroscopy. Data was analysed using elastic net regression analysis.ResultsA total of 100 signals representing 49 different metabolites were detected in 289 cases (of which 150 active migraine patients) and 1360 controls. We were able to identify profiles consisting of 6 metabolites predictive for lifetime migraine status and 22 metabolites predictive for active migraine status. We estimated with subsequent regression models that after correction for age, sex, BMI and smoking, the association with the metabolite profile in active migraine remained. Several of the metabolites in this profile are involved in lipid, glucose and amino acid metabolism.ConclusionThis study indicates that metabolic profiles, based on serum concentrations of several metabolites, including lipids, amino acids and metabolites of glucose metabolism, can distinguish active migraine patients from controls.

Original publication




Journal article


The journal of headache and pain

Publication Date





Departments of Human Genetics, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Humans, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Migraine Disorders, Metabolomics, Metabolome, Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy