Headache and Cortisol Responses to M-Chlorophenylpiperazine are Highly Correlated

Marc L. Gordon, Richard B. Lipton, Serena Lynn Brown, Christina Nakraseive, Martin l. Korn, Arnold Merriam, Marjorie Russell, Seymour Solomon, Simcha z. Pollack, Herman M.Van Praag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The serotonin receptor agonist m-chlorophenylpiperazine (m-CPP) stimulates the release of cortisol and prolactin, and induces migraine-like headaches. We have studied the neuroendocrine and headache responses to m-CPP in 8 subjects with migraine and I0 normal subjects. Each subject underwent two challenge tests, one with 0.25 mg/kg PO of m-CPP and the other with placebo, administered in a double-blind crossover format. Serial measurements of serum cortisol, prolactin, and m-CPP levels were made at 30-min intervals for 210 min following ingestion of the medication. The incidence and severity of headache was assessed by a structured telephone interview after each test. We confirmed that m-CPP stimulates the release of cortisol and prolactin, and may induce headache, in both migraine subjects and normal controls. The cortisol response as well as ratings of headache severity and duration directly correlated with plasma levels of m-CPP. There were highly significant associations between the cortisol response and both headache severity and duration, independent of m-CPP plasma levels. We did not find statistically significant differences between the migraine and normal subjects in terms of their neuroendocrine or headache responses to m-CPP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-405
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1993


  • Hydrocortisone
  • m-chlorophenylpiperazine
  • migraine
  • receptors- serotonin
  • serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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