Dilatation of the cerebral vasculature is recognised to be involved in the pathophysiology of migraine. Furthermore, elevated levels of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) occur in the blood, plasma and saliva of migraineurs during an attack, suggestive of a contributory role. In the present study, we have characterised the prostanoid receptors involved in the relaxation and contraction of human middle cerebral arteries in vitro.
In the presence of indomethacin (3 μM) and the TP receptor antagonist GR32191 (1 μM), PGE2 was found to relax phenylephrine precontracted cerebral arterial rings in a concentration-dependent manner (mean pEC50 8.0±0.1, n=5).
Establishment of a rank order of potency using the EP4>EP2 agonist 11-deoxy PGE1, and the EP2>EP4 agonist PGE1-OH (mean pEC50 of 7.6±0.1 (n=6) and 6.4±0.1 (n=4), respectively), suggested the presence of functional EP4 receptors. Furthermore, the selective EP2 receptor agonist butaprost at concentrations <1 μM failed to relax the tissues.
Blockade of EP4 receptors with the EP4 receptor antagonists AH23848 and EP4A caused significant rightward displacements in PGE2 concentration–response curves, exhibiting pA2 and pKB values of 5.7±0.1, n=3, and 8.4, n=3, respectively.
The IP receptor agonists iloprost and cicaprost relaxed phenylephrine precontracted cerebral arterial rings (mean pEC50 values 8.3±0.1 (n=4) and 8.1±0.1 (n=9), respectively). In contrast, the DP and FP receptor agonists PGD2 and PGF2α failed to cause appreciable relaxation or contraction at concentrations of up to 30 μM. In the absence of phenylephrine contraction and GR32191, the TP receptor agonist U46619 caused concentration-dependent contraction of cerebral artery (mean pEC50 7.4±0.3, n=3).
These data demonstrate the presence of prostanoid EP4 receptors mediating PGE2 vasodilatation of human middle cerebral artery. IP receptors mediating relaxation and TP receptors mediating contraction were also functionally demonstrated.
British Journal of Pharmacology (2004) 141, 580–585. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0705645