Objective.—The aim of the present study was to determine which isoform of the cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme plays a role in the neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) activation caused by nitroglycerin (NTG), in the most caudal part of the trigeminal caudal nucleus (TNC) of the rat.
Background.—Nitric oxide donor, NTG, can trigger migraine attack in migraineurs, but not in healthy persons. In rats, subcutaneous administration of NTG (10 mg/kg) increases significantly the number of nNOS-immunoreactive neurons in the TNC after 4 hours, which could be attenuated by acetyl-salicylate (Aspirin), a nonselective COX-inhibitor.
Methods.—SPRD rats were divided into 3 groups: (1) control group (no drug administration), (2) NS398 (selective COX-2 inhibitor) administration (1, 3, or 5 mg/kg), and (3) SC560 (selective COX-1 inhibitor) administration (1, 5, or 10 mg/kg). Thirty minutes after drug administration, the animals received NTG (10 mg/kg) or placebo injection. Four hours later the animals were transcardially perfused and the cervical part of the TNC was removed for immunohistochemistry.
Results.—The selective COX-2 inhibitor NS398 in contrast to the selective COX-1 inhibitor SC560 attenuates the NTG-induced nNOS expression dose-dependently.
Conclusion.—These findings suggest that metabolites deriving from COX-2 (but not COX-1) may be the most important factors in the NTG-induced nNOS expression. These data could help to better understand the pathogenesis of headaches and the action of antimigraine drugs.