Preliminary but convergent findings suggest a role for microRNAs (miRNAs) in the generation and maintenance of chronic pain and migraine. Initial observations showed that serum levels of miR-382-5p and miR-34a-5p expression were increased in serum during the migraine attack, with miR-382-5p increasing in the interictal phase as well. By contrast, miR-30a-5p levels were lower in migraine patients compared to healthy controls. Of note, antimigraine treatments proved to be capable of influencing the expression of these miRNAs. Altogether, these observations suggest that miRNAs may represent migraine biomarkers, but several points are yet to be elucidated. A major concern is that these miRNAs are altered in a broad spectrum of painful and non-painful conditions, and thus it is not possible to consider them as truly “migraine-specific” biomarkers. We feel that these miRNAs may represent useful tools to uncover and define different phenotypes across the migraine spectrum with different treatment susceptibilities and clinical features, although further studies are needed to confirm our hypothesis. In this narrative review we provide an update and a critical analysis of available data on miRNAs and migraines in order to propose possible interpretations. Our main objective is to stimulate research in an area that holds promise when it comes to providing reliable biomarkers for theoretical and practical scientific advances.
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