Effect of a nitric oxide donor (glyceryl trinitrate) on nociceptive thresholds in man

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Several animal studies suggest that nitric oxide (NO) plays a role in central and peripheral modulation of nociception. Glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) exerts its physiological actions via donation of NO. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of this NO donor on nociceptive thresholds in man. On two different study days separated by at least a week 12 healthy subjects received a staircase infusion of GTN (0.015, 0.25, 1.0, 2.0 micrograms/kg/min, 20 min each dose) or placebo in a randomized double-blind crossover design. Before the infusion and after 15 min of infusion on each dose, pressure pain detection and tolerance thresholds were determined by pressure algometry (Somomedic AB, Sweden) in three different anatomic regions (finger, a temporal region with interposed myofascial tissue and a temporal region without interposed myofascial tissue). Relative to placebo, the three higher GTN doses induced a decrease in both detection and tolerance thresholds in the temporal region with interposed myofascial tissue (p = 0.003 detection and p = 0.002 tolerance thresholds, Friedman). No such changes were observed in the other two stimulated regions. These results could reflect central facilitation of nociception by NO. However, we regard convergence of nociceptive input from pericranial myofascial tissue and from cephalic blood vessels dilated by NO as a more likely explanation of our findings.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCephalalgia : an international journal of headache
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)169-74
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - May 1996

    Research areas

  • Adult, Cross-Over Studies, Double-Blind Method, Female, Headache, Hemodynamics, Humans, Male, Nitric Oxide, Nitroglycerin, Pain Threshold, Stress, Mechanical

ID: 128983998