Molecular medicine reports

Role of phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase, calcitonin gene-related peptide and cyclooxygenase-2 in experimental rat models of migraine.

PMID 25892078


Although migraine is a common neurological condition, the pathomechanism is not yet fully understood. Activation of the trigeminovascular system (TVS) has an important function in this disorder and neurogenic inflammation and central sensitization are important mechanisms underlying this condition. Nitroglycerin (NTG) infusion in rats closely mimics a universally accepted human model of migraine. Electrical stimulation of the trigeminal ganglion (ESTG) of rats can also activate TVS during a migraine attack. Numerous studies have revealed that phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (p-ERK), calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) are involved in pain and nociceptive pathways. However, few studies have examined whether p-ERK, CGRP and COX-2 are involved in neurogenic inflammation and central sensitization. In the present study, the expression of p-ERK, CGRP and COX-2 was detected in the dura mater, trigeminal ganglion (TG) and spinal trigeminal nucleus caudalis in NTG-induced rats and ESTG models by immunohistochemistry. The three areas considered were crucial components of the TVS. The selective COX-2 inhibitor nimesulide was used in ESTG rats to examine the association between p-ERK, CGRP and COX-2. The results demonstrated that p‑ERK, CGRP and COX-2 mediated neurogenic inflammation and central sensitization in migraine. In addition, the expression of p-ERK and CGRP was attenuated by the COX-2 inhibitor.