Effect of nitric oxide donors on the central nervous system - Nitroglycerin studies in the rat

C. Tassorelli, A. Costa, F. Blandini, S. A. Joseph, G. Nappi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The demonstration that nitrovasodilators act as nitric oxide (NO) donors has favored a resurgence of interest in this class of compounds. The demonstration of the different biological effects of NO in various districts, including the central nervous system, suggests a possible role for these substances besides their well-known cardiovascular activity. Among the various nitrovasodilators commercially available, nitroglycerin represents a well known substance to headache experts because of its capability to provoke spontaneous-like migraine attacks in headache-free migrainous subjects. Basic research has recently demonstrated that nitroglycerin activates a variegate set of brain nuclei following systemic administration via the intervention of selected neurotransmitters and neuromediators, with a specific time-pattern in different brain areas. Increasing evidence suggests that nitroglycerin-induced neuronal activation is mediated by multiple mechanisms that include direct neuronal and vascular action of nitroglycerin-derived and endogenously-synthesized NO, as well as indirect effects related to nitroglycerin-induced changes in cardiovascular and trigeminovascular systems. The study of the neurovascular effects of nitroglycerin in the rat provides relevant information for a better understanding of the pathophysiology of migraine attacks and of their triggers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-27
Number of pages9
JournalFunctional Neurology
Issue number3 SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Autonomic system
  • Migraine
  • Neuronal activation
  • Nitrovasodilators
  • Nociception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of nitric oxide donors on the central nervous system - Nitroglycerin studies in the rat'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this