Temporal profile of vascular changes induced by systemic nitroglycerin in the meningeal and cortical districts

IRCCS National Neurological Institute C. Mondino Foundation, Pavia, Italy.
Cephalalgia (Impact Factor: 4.89). 02/2011; 31(2):190-8. DOI: 10.1177/0333102410379887
Source: PubMed


Clinical studies indicated that nitric oxide (NO) donors cause regional changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF), similar to those reported in spontaneous migraine. Systemic nitroglycerin (NTG), a NO donor, is a well-accepted experimental model of migraine. In this study we have examined the effects of NTG on the meningeal and cortical blood flow in rats.
Regional blood flow was monitored in male Sprague-Dawley rats using laser Doppler flowmetry before and after NTG/saline injection over 150 minutes. The effect of pre-treatment with Nω-nitro-L-arginine ester (L-NAME) or 7-nitroindazole (7-NI) on NTG-induced changes on blood flow was also investigated.
In the dura NTG caused a biphasic response represented by an initial decrease in blood flow followed by a significant increase. At variance, in the cortex NTG caused only an increase in blood flow. Pre-treatment with either L-NAME or 7-NI prevented NTG-induced increase in blood flow in both districts, while only L-NAME also prevented NTG-induced decrease in dural blood flow.
The present findings provide additional information on the timing of effects of NTG on blood flow at both the meningeal and cortical levels. These effects seem to be related to vasoregulatory mechanisms and/or metabolic activity in response to the synthesis of endogenous NO.

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    • "Vasodilation of cortical vessels induced by GTN was observed by many other groups [3], [17], [18], [19], [22] and the findings of the present study are consistent with those observations. The more intriguing finding is the opposite, vasoconstrictory effect of GTN on meningeal (dura mater) vessels. "
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    ABSTRACT: Vascular changes underlying headache in migraine patients induced by Glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) were previously studied with various imaging techniques. Despite the long history of medical and experimental use of GTN, its effects on the brain vasculature are still poorly understood presumably due to low spatial resolution of the imaging modalities used so far. We took advantage of the micrometer-scale vertical resolution of two-photon microscopy to differentiate between the vasodynamic effects of GTN on meningeal versus cortical vessels imaged simultaneously in anesthetized rats through either thinned skull or glass-sealed cranial window. Intermediate and small calibre vessels were visualized in vivo by imaging intravascular fluorescent dextran, and detection of blood flow direction allowed identification of individual arterioles and venules. We found that i.p.-injected GTN induced a transient constriction of meningeal arterioles, while their cortical counterparts were, in contrast, dilated. These opposing effects of GTN were restricted to arterioles, whereas the effects on venules were insignificant. Interestingly, the NO synthase inhibitor L-NAME did not affect the diameter of meningeal vessels but induced a constriction of cortical vessels. The different cellular environment in cortex versus meninges as well as distinct vessel wall anatomical features probably play crucial role in the observed phenomena. These findings highlight differential region- and vessel-type-specific effects of GTN on cranial vessels, and may implicate new vascular mechanisms of NO-mediated primary headaches.
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    • "In addition, in a transgenic mouse model of familial migraine, animals expressing a human migraine gene showed an even greater sensitivity to NTG-evoked hyperalgesia [6]. Further, NTG has also been shown to produce light-aversive behavior [20] and increased meningeal blood flow in mice [13] [20]. Taken together, these results indicate that the effects of NTG may effectively model migrainelike symptoms in rodents. "
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic migraine is a disabling condition that affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. The development of novel migraine treatments has been slow, in part due to a lack of predicative animal models. We have developed a new model of chronic migraine involving the use of nitroglycerin, a known migraine trigger in humans. Chronic intermittent administration of nitroglycerin to mice resulted in acute mechanical hyperalgesia with each exposure as well as a progressive and sustained basal hyperalgesia. This chronic basal hyperalgesia occurred in a dose-dependent fashion and persisted for days following cessation of NTG administration. NTG-evoked hyperalgesia was exacerbated by the phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor sildenafil, also a human migraine trigger, consistent with nitric oxide as a primary mediator of this hyperalgesia. The acute but not the chronic basal hyperalgesia was significantly reduced by the acute migraine therapy sumatriptan, whereas both the acute and chronic hyperalgesia was significantly attenuated by the migraine preventive therapy topiramate. Chronic NTG-induced hyperalgesia is a mouse model that may be useful for the study of mechanisms underlying progression of migraine from an episodic to a chronic disorder, and for the identification and characterization of novel acute and preventive migraine therapies.
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