Cranial hypersensitivity is a prominent symptom of migraine, exhibited as migraine headache exacerbated with physical activity, and cutaneous facial allodynia and hyperalgesia. The underlying mechanism is believed to be, in part, activation and sensitization of dural-responsive trigeminocervical neurons. Validated preclinical models that exhibit this phenotype have great utility for understanding putative mechanisms, and as a tool to screen therapeutics. We have previously shown that nitroglycerin triggers cranial allodynia in association with migraine-like headache, and this translates to neuronal cranial hypersensitivity in rats. Further, responses in both humans and rats are aborted by triptan administration, similar to responses in spontaneous migraine. Here, our objective was to study the nitroglycerin model examining the effects on therapeutic targets with newly approved treatments, specifically gepants and ditans, for the acute treatment of migraine. Using electrophysiological methods, we determined changes to ongoing firing and somatosensory-evoked cranial sensitivity, in response to nitroglycerin, followed by treatment with a CGRP receptor antagonist, gepant (olcegepant), a 5-HT1F receptor agonist, ditan (LY344864) and an NK1 receptor antagonist (GR205171). Nitroglycerin induced activation of migraine-like central trigeminocervical neurons, and intracranial and extracranial neuronal hypersensitivity. These responses were aborted by olcegepant and LY344864. However, GR205171, which failed in clinical trial for both abortive and preventive treatment of migraine, had no effect. These data support the nitroglycerin model as a valid approach to study cranial hypersensitivity and putative mechanisms involved in migraine, and as a screen to dissect potentially efficacious migraine therapeutic targets.

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PubMed