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Nitroglycerin-Induced Migraine Mouse Model

Migraine affects more than 1 billion people each year and it is one of the most common neurologic disorders, with a high prevalence and morbidity. The main attributes of this debilitating condition are moderate to severe recurrent headaches accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound. The exact pathogenesis of migraine is not clear, but it is supposed that central sensitization of the trigeminal system is the main pathophysiological factor. Glyceryl trinitrate (also known as nitroglycerin, NTG) is known to induce headaches by activating the trigeminovascular system. Injecting wild type (WT) mice with NTG is a fast and reliable way to induce migraine-like symptoms, including an increase in pain-related facial expressions and face grooming behavior (Figure 1A and B). Additionally, these symptoms can be effectively treated with existing migraine medication (Figure 1A and B).

An additional advantage of this migraine model is its high translational value, as studies have shown that NTG also induces headaches in susceptible people. Similar to humans, animals show discomfort with facial expressions when in pain. Therefore, the grimace scale test is a well-suited tool for assessing pain sensitivity in preclinical research. This test has demonstrated its reliability and sensitivity across numerous experiments in migraine research.

The most important characteristic of the NTG-induced migraine mouse model is an increase in facial expressions associated with migraine-like nociceptive response. Although NTG induces changes associated with migraine in both sexes, males’ responses are of higher amplitude (data not shown).

The most important characteristics of NTG-treated mice are:
  • Increased grimace scale scoring
  • Increased face grooming duration
  • Effects of NTG can be reversed by sumatriptan treatment
Graphs show grimace scale and face grooming Duration of nitroglycerine-treated wild type mice and the effect of  sumatriptan in this induced migraine model.

Figure 1: Effects of acute injection of nitroglycerin (NTG) on nociceptive response indicating a migraine-like symptomatic in wild type mice. Wild type mice, 3 months of age, were injected with nitroglycerin (NTG) or in combination with sumatriptan (Suma). (A) Score of facial expression associated with migraine-like nociceptive response. High scores indicate migraine-like symptoms. (B) Face grooming duration; n = 24 / group; Kruskal-Wallis test with Dunn´s post hoc test; Mean + SEM. *p<0.05; ***p<0.001.

NTG-induced migraine is a well-validated model for studying the effectiveness of potential migraine treatments in vivo, as it consistently replicates multiple disease features.

Scantox is flexible in accommodating your special interests. We are also happy to advise you and propose study designs. The NTG-induced migraine model shows relevant disease phenotypes shortly after treatment, which grants a remarkably fast processing time for your study.

We are happy to evaluate the efficacy of your compound in an NTG-induced migraine model!

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