Blood Nitrite Levels in Patients With Migraine During Headache-Free Period


Address all correspondence to Prof. Rakesh Shukla, Department of Neurology, King George's Medical College, Lucknow 226003, India.


Objective.—To investigate blood nitrite levels after migraine attacks and to assess whether or not the change in nitric oxide levels observed during acute migraine persist after the attacks.

Background.—Involvement of nitric oxide has been suggested in the initiation of acute migraine. Recent studies have shown alteration in the platelet response and platelet nitrite levels during migraine attacks.

Methods.—Patients with migraine with aura and patients without aura were included in the study. The study was conducted on 50 patients with migraine and 90 healthy controls. Blood from the patients was collected at least 7 ± 0.8 days after the last attack of migraine. Nitrite levels in the polymorphonuclear leukocytes, platelets, and plasma were estimated. Platelet aggregation response in some of these patients was also studied.

Results.—No significant change in the polymorphonuclear leukocyte, platelet, and plasma nitrite levels in patients with migraine compared to controls was observed. Patients with migraine with aura had significantly lower polymorphonuclear leukocyte nitrite levels compared to those without aura (P<.05). In addition, no significant difference in the adenosine diphosphate–induced platelet aggregation was observed in the migraineurs compared to the healthy controls.

Conclusions.—Results obtained indicate that the platelet aggregation response and the blood nitrite levels were not altered significantly after an attack in the patients with migraine.