Nitric oxide is a key molecule in migraine and other vascular headaches

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Nitric oxide (NO) may play a key role in migraine and other vascular headaches since glyceryl trinitrate (a donor of NO) and histamine (which probably activates endothelial NO formation) both cause a pulsating dose-dependent headache with several migrainous characteristics. At relatively high doses of glyceryl trinitrate, migraine sufferers develop stronger and more migraine-like headaches and more pronounced cerebral arterial dilatation than controls. After the infusion of glyceryl trinitrate, non-migraineurs remain headache-free while migraineurs develop a migraine-like attack. In this review, Jes Olesen, Lars Thomsen and Helle Iversen suggest that migraine may be caused by increased amounts and/or affinity of an enzyme in the NO-triggered cascade of reactions. NO may also be involved in the pathogenesis of other vascular headaches.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Pharmacological Sciences
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)149-53
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - May 1994

    Research areas

  • Amino Acid Oxidoreductases, Cerebrovascular Circulation, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Headache, Histamine, Humans, Migraine Disorders, Nitric Oxide, Nitric Oxide Synthase, Nitroglycerin

ID: 128985471