TRPA1/NOX in the soma of trigeminal ganglion neurons mediates migraine-related pain of glyceryl trinitrate in mice

Ilaria Maddalena Marone, Francesco De Logu, Romina Nassini, Muryel De Carvalho Goncalves, Silvia Benemei, Juliano Ferreira, Piyush Jain, Simone Li Puma, Nigel W. Bunnett, Pierangelo Geppetti, Serena Materazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Glyceryl trinitrate is administered as a provocative test for migraine pain. Glyceryl trinitrate causes prolonged mechanical allodynia in rodents, which temporally correlates with delayed glyceryl trinitrate-evoked migraine attacks in patients. However, the underlying mechanism of the allodynia evoked by glyceryl trinitrate is unknown. The proalgesic transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) channel, expressed by trigeminal nociceptors, is sensitive to oxidative stress and is targeted by nitric oxide or its by-products. Herein, we explored the role of TRPA1 in glyceryl trinitrate-evoked allodynia. Systemic administration of glyceryl trinitrate elicited in the mouse periorbital area an early and transient vasodilatation and a delayed and prolonged mechanical allodynia. The systemic, intrathecal or local administration of selective enzyme inhibitors revealed that nitric oxide, liberated from the parent drug by aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2), initiates but does not maintain allodynia. The central and the final phases of allodynia were respectively associated with generation of reactive oxygen and carbonyl species within the trigeminal ganglion. Allodynia was absent in TRPA1-deficient mice and was reversed by TRPA1 antagonists. Knockdown of neuronal TRPA1 by intrathecally administered antisense oligonucleotide and selective deletion of TRPA1 from sensory neurons in Advillin-Cre; Trpa1fl/fl mice revealed that nitric oxide-dependent oxidative and carbonylic stress generation is due to TRPA1 stimulation, and resultant NADPH oxidase 1 (NOX1) and NOX2 activation in the soma of trigeminal ganglion neurons. Early periorbital vasodilatation evoked by glyceryl trinitrate was attenuated by ALDH2 inhibition but was unaffected by TRPA1 blockade. Antagonists of the calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor did not affect the vasodilatation but partially inhibited allodynia. Thus, although both periorbital allodynia and vasodilatation evoked by glyceryl trinitrate are initiated by nitric oxide, they are temporally and mechanistically distinct. While vasodilatation is due to a direct nitric oxide action in the vascular smooth muscle, allodynia is a neuronal phenomenon mediated by TRPA1 activation and ensuing oxidative stress. The autocrine pathway, sustained by TRPA1 and NOX1/ 2 within neuronal cell bodies of trigeminal ganglia, may sensitize meningeal nociceptors and second order trigeminal neurons to elicit periorbital allodynia, and could be of relevance for migraine-like headaches evoked by glyceryl trinitrate in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2312-2328
Number of pages17
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Experimental models
  • Ion channels
  • Migraine
  • Oxidative stress
  • Trigeminal headache

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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