Molecular and Functional PET-fMRI Measures of Analgesia in Migraine

This study is ongoing, but not recruiting participants.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
David Borsook, Mclean Hospital Identifier:
First received: May 23, 2013
Last updated: January 28, 2015
Last verified: January 2015

The placebo effect is a phenomenon that has experienced major advances of its understanding in the last decade. However, mechanisms of placebo analgesia in chronic pain patients have yet to be compared to healthy subjects. The investigators study aims to investigate the magnitude of placebo response and related opioid release in patients that suffer from episodic migraines as compared to healthy controls. In particular, the investigators are looking to map brain activity during placebo analgesia using modern brain imaging techniques such as functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET). The investigators hypothesis is that placebo response and the availability of opioid receptors is reduced in chronic migraine patients.

Condition Intervention Phase
Other: Placebo
Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Single Blind (Subject)
Primary Purpose: Basic Science
Official Title: Molecular and Functional PET-fMRI Measures of Analgesia in Migraine

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Massachusetts General Hospital:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • VAS Pain rating [ Time Frame: 1 day ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    This study will investigate how placebo may reduce experimental pain induced by contact heat.

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • fMRI BOLD signal [ Time Frame: 1 day ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent Signal will be obtained.

  • PET Diprenorphine [ Time Frame: 1 day ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    Positron Emission Tomography with C11 diprenorphine will be used to measure opioid receptors

Estimated Enrollment: 28
Study Start Date: March 2013
Primary Completion Date: April 2014 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
No Intervention: No Intervention
PET-fMRI investigation on healthy subjects and patients with migraine. No drug condition.
Placebo Comparator: Saline Injection (Placebo)
PET-fMRI investigation on healthy subjects and patients with migraine. Placebo condition.
Other: Placebo
Placebo will be compared to No Intervention.


Ages Eligible for Study:   21 Years to 50 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Migraine patients with aura with acute episodic migraine meeting the IHS Classification ICHD-II criteria, 3-14 migraines per month.
  • History of episodic migraine for at least 3 years
  • Ages 21-50
  • Male or Female
  • Right Handed

Matched healthy subjects will also be recruited.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Other significant disease (systemic or CNS)
  • Pregnancy
  • Claustrophobia
  • Weight >235 lbs (limit of MRI table)
  • Significant drug including alcohol history (> 7 glasses of alcohol per week)
  • Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) score > 25 (moderate to severe depression)
  • Any metal implants incompatible with MRI (including dental bridges, crowns, retainers, orthodontic devices e.g. braces, IUDs, aneurysm clips or other devices, tattoos containing metallic ink, cardiac pacemakers, prosthetic hear valves, other prostheses, neurostimulator devices, implanted infusion pumps, exposure to shrapnel or metal filings, cochlear implants, etc.)
  • Previous significant research related exposure to ionizing radiation.
  • History of allergy or adverse reaction to opioids
  • Significant medical history of such as seizure disorder, diabetes, alcoholism, cardiac disease including coronary artery disease, psychiatric problems; drug addiction, respiratory problems, liver disease, etc.
  • Positive drug of abuse screen (excluding medications currently prescribed for their clinical condition, e.g. opioids, benzodiazepines, etc.)
  • Patients with migraine <72 hours prior to the experiments will not be included to ensure inter-ictal state.
  • Opioids or preventative medication such as topiramate, SSRIs etc.
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01970943

United States, Massachusetts
Athinoula A. Martinos. Center for Biomedical Imaging
Charlestown, Massachusetts, United States, 02129
Sponsors and Collaborators
Massachusetts General Hospital
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Principal Investigator: David Borsook, MD, Ph.D Children's Hospital Boston
  More Information

No publications provided

Responsible Party: David Borsook, David Borosook, MD, Mclean Hospital Identifier: NCT01970943     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: AT007530-01, R21AT007530-01
Study First Received: May 23, 2013
Last Updated: January 28, 2015
Health Authority: United States: Institutional Review Board

Keywords provided by Massachusetts General Hospital:
migraine, headache, episodic, chronic, pain

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Migraine Disorders
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Headache Disorders
Headache Disorders, Primary
Nervous System Diseases processed this record on October 08, 2015