Migraine can be triggered by systemic administration of the nitric oxide (NO) donor nitroglycerin (NTG) and by abrupt falls in plasma oestradiol. Calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CamKII) present in superficial dorsal horns is thought to play a role in sensitization of central nociceptors, a phenomen present in migraineurs. We therefore examined in rats the expression of CamKII in the caudal trigeminal nucleus (TNC) after subcutaneous NTG (10 mg/kg) and its modulation by oestrogen. In male rats and in ovariectomized females, after 4 h NTG increased significantly CamKII expression in the superficial layers of TNC, but not in the upper thoracic spinal cord. NTG had no effect on CamKII expression in oestradiol-treated ovariectomized animals. Thus NTG, i.e. NO, selectively enhances CamKII in the rat TNC and oestradiol blocks this effect. These data may help to understand the mechanisms by which NO triggers migraine attacks and oestrogens influence migraine severity.
- Caudal spinal trigeminal nucleus
- Nitric oxide
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology