Cilostazol induces C-fos expression in the trigeminal nucleus caudalis and behavioural changes suggestive of headache with the migraine-like feature photophobia in female rats

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S. L. Christensen, Steffen Petersen, Dorte B. Sørensen, Jes Olesen, Inger Jansen-Olesen

Research in development of new migraine therapeutics is hindered by the lack of suitable, predictive animal models. Cilostazol provokes headache in healthy humans and migraineurs by increasing intracellular cAMP levels. We aimed to investigate whether cilostazol could provoke headache-like behaviours and c-fos expression in rats. In order to evaluate the predictive validity of the model, we examined the response to the migraine specific drug sumatriptan.

The effect of cilostazol (125 mg/kg p.o.) in female Sprague Dawley rats was evaluated on a range of spontaneous behavioural parameters, light sensitivity and mechanical sensitivity thresholds. We also measured c-fos expression in the trigeminal nucleus caudalis.

Cilostazol increased light sensitivity and grooming behaviour. These manifestations were not inhibited by sumatriptan. Cilostazol also induced c-fos expression in the trigeminal nucleus caudalis. Furthermore, trigeminal – but not hind paw hyperalgesia was observed.

The altered behaviours are suggestive of cilostazol induced headache with migraine-like features, but not specific. The presence of head specific hyperalgesia and the c-fos response in the trigeminal nucleus caudalis imply that the model involves trigeminal nociception. The model will be useful for studying mechanisms related to the cAMP pathway in headache, but its predictive properties appear to be more limited due to the lack of response to sumatriptan.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)452-465
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Migraine, rat model, behaviour, cilostazol, c-fos, light sensitivity

ID: 202285919