Sumatriptan Scavenges Superoxide, Hydroxyl, and Nitric Oxide Radicals: In Vitro Electron Spin Resonance Study


Address all correspondence to Dr. Yukio Ikeda, MD, DMSc, Department of Neurosurgery, Showa University School of Medicine, 1-5-8 Hatanodai, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 142-8666, Japan.


Background.—The molecular mechanisms of migraine have not yet been clarified. Oxygen free radicals have been implicated in the genesis of many pathological processes, including migraine. Sumatriptan succinate is known to be a very effective drug for acute relief of migraine attack.

Objective.—To investigate the direct scavenging activities of sumatriptan for superoxide, hydroxyl, and nitric oxide (NO) radicals using electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy.

Methods.—Measurement of superoxide and hydroxyl radical scavenging activities was performed by ESR using 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline-N-oxide as a spin trap. NO was generated from 1-hydroxy-2-oxo-3-(N-3-methyl-3-aminopropyl)-3-methyl-1-triazene and analyzed by 2-(4-carboxyphenyl)-4,4,5,5-tetramethylimidazoline-1-oxyl produced from the reaction between 2-(4-carboxyphenyl)-4,4,5,5-tetramethylimidazoline-1-oxyl-3-oxide and NO.

Results.—The ESR study demonstrated that sumatriptan scavenged superoxide, hydroxyl, and NO in a dose-dependent manner.

Conclusion.—Sumatriptan has direct scavenging activity on free radicals and NO. Acute migraine drugs with antioxidant properties may provide heretofore unheralded benefits via this mechanism.