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Papers of the Week

Papers: 21 Jan 2023 - 3 Feb 2023

2023 Jan 25

J Neurosci

Peroxynitrite contributes to behavioral responses, increased trigeminal excitability, and changes in mitochondrial function in a preclinical model of migraine.


Administration of a nitric oxide (NO) donor triggers migraine attacks but mechanisms by which this occurs are unknown. Reactive nitroxidative species, including NO and peroxynitrite (PN), have been implicated in nociceptive sensitization and neutralizing PN is anti-nociceptive. We determined whether PN contributes to nociceptive responses in two distinct models of migraine headache. Female and male mice were subjected to three consecutive days of restraint stress or to dural stimulation with the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6. Following resolution of the initial post-stimulus behavioral responses, animals were tested for hyperalgesic priming using a normally non-noxious dose of the NO donor sodium nitroprusside (SNP) or dural pH 7.0, respectively. We measured periorbital von Frey and grimace responses in both models and measured stress-induced changes in 3-nitrotyrosine (3-NT) expression (a marker for PN activity) and trigeminal ganglia (TG) mitochondrial function. Additionally, we recorded TG neuronal activity in response to the PN generator SIN-1. We then tested the effects of the PN decomposition catalysts, FeTMPyP and FeTPPS, or the PN scavenger MnTBAP against these behavioral, molecular, and neuronal changes. Neutralizing PN attenuated stress-induced periorbital hypersensitivity and priming to SNP, with no effect on priming to dural pH 7.0. These compounds also prevented stress-induced increases in 3-NT expression in both the TG and dura mater and attenuated TG neuronal hyperexcitability caused by SIN-1. Surprisingly, FeTMPyP attenuated changes in TG mitochondrial function caused by SNP in stressed males only. Together, these data strongly implicate PN in migraine mechanisms and highlight the therapeutic potential of targeting PN.Among the most reliable experimental triggers of migraine are nitric oxide donors. Mechanisms by which nitric oxide triggers attacks are unclear but may be due to reactive nitroxidative species such as peroxynitrite. Utilizing mouse models of migraine headache, we show that peroxynitrite-modulating compounds attenuate behavioral, neuronal, and molecular changes caused by repeated stress and nitric oxide donors (two of the most common triggers of migraine in humans). Additionally, our results show a sex-specific regulation of mitochondrial function by peroxynitrite following stress, providing novel insight into the ways in which peroxynitrite may contribute to migraine-related mechanisms. Critically, our data underscore the potential in targeting peroxynitrite formation as a novel therapeutic for the treatment of migraine headache.