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)

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).