Arterial supersensitivity to nitric oxide (nitroglycerin) in migraine sufferers

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The sensitivity to nitroglycerin-induced dilatation of large intracranial arteries was studied in 17 patients with migraine without aura, 17 age and sex-matched healthy subjects and 9 patients with episodic tension-type headache. Nitroglycerin in the doses of 0.015, 0.03, 0.25 microgram/kg/min was successively infused for 15 min per dose. Blood velocity (Vmean) in the middle cerebral artery (MCA) was recorded with transcranial Doppler before and at the end of every infusion period, and 30 and 60 min after end of the last infusion. In all three groups Vmean decreased with increasing doses (p < 0.001). The response was more pronounced in migraine patients at the two higher doses (p < 0.05). Since nitroglycerin acts as an exogenous source of nitric oxide (NO), these data support that NO supersensitivity may be an important molecular mechanism of migraine pain.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCephalalgia : an international journal of headache
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)395-9; discussion 376
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1993

    Research areas

  • Adult, Analysis of Variance, Cerebral Arteries, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Migraine Disorders, Nitric Oxide, Nitroglycerin, Ultrasonography, Doppler, Transcranial, Vasodilation

ID: 128984494