(1) Background: OnabotulinumtoxinA (BoNT-A) is a commonly used prophylactic treatment for chronic migraine (CM). Although randomized placebo studies have shown its clinical efficacy, the mechanisms by which it exerts its therapeutic effect are still incompletely understood and debated. (2) Methods: We studied in 15 CM patients the cephalic and extracephalic nociceptive and lemniscal sensory systems using electrophysiological techniques before and 1 and 3 months after one session of pericranial BoNT-A injections according to the PREEMPT protocol. We recorded the nociceptive blink reflex (nBR), the trigemino-cervical reflex (nTCR), the pain-related cortical evoked potential (PREP), and the upper limb somatosensory evoked potential (SSEP). (3) Results: Three months after a single session of prophylactic therapy with BoNT-A in CM patients, we found (a) an increase in the homolateral and contralateral nBR AUC, (b) an enhancement of the contralateral nBR AUC habituation slope and the nTCR habituation slope, (c) a decrease in PREP N-P 1st and 2nd amplitude block, and (d) no effect on SSEPs. (4) Conclusions: Our study provides electrophysiological evidence for the ability of a single session of BoNT-A injections to exert a neuromodulatory effect at the level of trigeminal system through a reduction in input from meningeal and other trigeminovascular nociceptors. Moreover, by reducing activity in cortical pain processing areas, BoNT-A restores normal functioning of the descending pain modulation systems.
Effects of Botulinum Toxin Type A on the Nociceptive and Lemniscal Somatosensory Systems in Chronic Migraine: An Electrophysiological Study / Sebastianelli, G.; Casillo, F.; Di Renzo, A.; Abagnale, C.; Cioffi, E.; Parisi, V.; Di Lorenzo, C.; Serrao, M.; Pierelli, F.; Schoenen, J.; Coppola, G.. - In: TOXINS. - ISSN 2072-6651. - 15:1(2023), p. 76. [10.3390/toxins15010076]