Perfusion imaging by arterial spin labeling in migraine: A literature review

Severin Schramm, Corinna Börner, Miriam Reichert, Gabriel Hoffmann, Stephan Kaczmarz, Michael Griessmair, Kirsten Jung, Maria T. Berndt, Claus Zimmer, Thomas Baum, Florian Heinen, Michaela V. Bonfert, Nico Sollmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Arterial spin labeling (ASL) is a non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) method for the assessment of cerebral blood flow (CBF). This review summarizes recent ASL-based investigations in adult and pediatric patients with migraine with aura, migraine without aura, and chronic migraine. A systematic search according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines was conducted within PubMed and reference sections of articles identified from April 2014 to November 2022. Out of 236 initial articles, 20 remained after filtering, encompassing data from 1155 subjects in total. Cross-sectional studies in adults showed inconsistent results, while longitudinal studies demonstrated that cerebral perfusion changes over the migraine cycle can be tracked using ASL. The most consistent findings were observed in ictal states among pediatric migraine patients, where studies showed hypoperfusion matching aura symptoms during early imaging followed by hyperperfusion. Overall, ASL is a useful but currently underutilized modality for evaluating cerebral perfusion in patients with migraine. The generalizability of results is currently limited by heterogeneities regarding study design and documentation of clinical variables (e.g., relation of attacks to scanning timepoint, migraine subtypes). Future MRI studies should consider augmenting imaging protocols with ASL to further elucidate perfusion dynamics in migraine.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Arterial spin labeling
  • cerebral blood flow
  • headache
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • perfusion


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