Background Migraine is comorbid with obesity. Recent research suggests an association between migraine and adipocytokines, proteins that are predominantly secreted from adipose tissue and which participate in energy homeostasis and inflammatory processes. Objectives In this review, we first briefly discuss the association between migraine and obesity and the importance of adipose tissue as a neuroendocrine organ. We then present a systematic review of the extant literature evaluating circulating levels of adiponectin and leptin in those with migraine. Methods A search of the PubMed database was conducted using the keywords "migraine," "adiponectin," and "leptin." In addition reference lists of relevant articles were reviewed for possible inclusion. English language studies published between 2005 and 2015 evaluating circulating blood concentration of adiponectin or leptin in those with migraine were included. Conclusions While the existing data are suggestive that adipokines may be associated with migraine, substantial study design differences and conflicting results limit definitive conclusions. Future research utilizing carefully considered designs and methodology is warranted. In particular careful and systematic characterization of pain states at the time of samples, as well as systematic consideration of demographic (eg, age, sex) and other vital covariates (eg, obesity status, lipids) are needed to determine if adipokines play a role in migraine pathophysiology and if any adipokine represents a viable, novel migraine biomarker, or drug target.
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