Decreased Sensitivity of 5-HT1D Receptors in Chronic Tension-Type Headache


Dr. Innocenzo Rainero, Neurology III-Headache Center, Department of Neuroscience, University of Turin, Via Cherasco 15, 10126 Torino, Italy.


Objective.—To assess the sensitivity of 5-HT1D receptors in chronic tension-type headache using sumatriptan as a pharmacological probe.

Background.—Previous studies have suggested involvement of serotonergic systems in chronic tension-type headache (CTTH), but relevant experimental data are limited. Sumatriptan, a 5-HT1B/1D receptor agonist, stimulates the release of growth hormone (GH) and inhibits the release of ACTH, cortisol, and prolactin. These effects may be used to explore the function of serotonergic systems in vivo.

Methods.—We measured GH, ACTH, cortisol and prolactin (PRL) plasma concentrations in 15 patients with chronic tension-type headache and in 18 healthy controls after subcutaneous administration of sumatriptan (6 mg) or placebo.

Results.—Placebo administration had no effect on hormone concentrations. GH and PRL secretion after sumatriptan administration was significantly (P<0.01 and <0.05) altered in CTTH patients in comparison with controls.

Conclusion.—Our results suggest that cerebral serotonergic functions mediated by 5-HT1D receptors are altered in CTTH.