By David Borsook, Rosanna Veggeberg, Nathalie Erpelding, Ronald Borra, Clas Linnman, Rami Burstein, and Lino Becerra | The Neuroscientist | August 19, 2015
The insula, a “cortical hub” buried within the lateral sulcus, is involved in a number of processes including goal-directed cognition, conscious awareness, autonomic regulation, interoception, and somatosensation. While some of these processes are well known in the clinical presentation of migraine (i.e., autonomic and somatosensory alterations), other more complex behaviors in migraine, such as conscious awareness and error detection, are less well described. Since the insula processes and relays afferent inputs from brain areas involved in these functions to areas involved in higher cortical function such as frontal, temporal, and parietal regions, it may be implicated as a brain region that translates the signals of altered internal milieu in migraine, along with other chronic pain conditions, through the insula into complex behaviors. Here we review how the insula function and structure is altered in migraine. As a brain region of a number of brain functions, it may serve as a model to study new potential clinical perspectives for migraine treatment.