Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Animals; Behavior, Animal (drug effects); Disease Models, Animal; Male; Migraine Disorders (chemically induced, diagnosis, drug therapy); Motor Activity (drug effects); Nitroglycerin; Photophobia (chemically induced, diagnosis, drug therapy); Rats; Serotonin 5-HT1 Receptor Agonists (pharmacology, therapeutic use); Sumatriptan (pharmacology, therapeutic use); Treatment Outcome; Vasodilator Agents


BACKGROUND: This research sought to further validate the rat nitroglycerin (NTG) migraine model by comparing the effects of single versus recurrent NTG episodes on behavioral endpoints that mirror ICHD-3 diagnostic criteria for migraine, and to determine if the altered behavioral endpoints are reduced after administration of sumatriptan. METHODS: Separate cohorts of rats were administered NTG (10 mg/kg/2 ml) or saline (Experiment 1: single injection; Experiment 2: repeated injections; Experiment 3: repeated injections with sumatriptan [0.0, 0.3 and 1.0 mg/kg/ml] rescue. Behavioral endpoints were assessed 2 h after final NTG administration and included time in light/dark chambers for photophobia and activity, pain facial ratings, and cool (5 °C) and warm (46 °C) tail dip. RESULTS: The first two experiments demonstrated that repeated (n = 5) but not single NTG injections produced photophobia, decreased activity, and yielded less weight gain than saline injections. Experiment 3 showed that sumatriptan attenuated hypoactivity, reduced facial expressions of pain, and reversed weight alterations in a dose-dependent manner. CONCLUSIONS: These findings identify numerous clinical homologies of a recurrent NTG rat migraine model that may be useful for screening novel pharmacotherapies.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


© 2016 Sufka et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

APA Citation

Sufka, K., Staszko, S., Johnson, A., Davis, M., Davis, R., & Smitherman, T. (2016). Clinically relevant behavioral endpoints in a recurrent nitroglycerin migraine model in rats. The Journal Of Headache And Pain, 17(1).