Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Brain. 2012 Dec;135(Pt 12):3664-75. doi: 10.1093/brain/aws249. Epub 2012 Oct 11.

A translational in vivo model of trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias: therapeutic characterization.

Author information

  • 1Headache Group, Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, 675 Nelson Rising Lane, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA.


Trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias are highly disabling primary headache disorders, characterized by severe unilateral head pain and associated ipsilateral cranial autonomic features. There is limited understanding of their pathophysiology and how and where treatments act to reduce symptoms; this is significantly hindered by a lack of animal models. We have developed the first animal model to explore trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias, using stimulation within the brainstem, at the level of the superior salivatory nucleus, to activate the trigeminal autonomic reflex arc. Using electrophysiological recording of neurons of the trigeminocervical complex and laser Doppler blood flow changes around the ipsilateral lacrimal duct, superior salivatory nucleus stimulation exhibited both neuronal trigeminovascular and cranial autonomic manifestations. These responses were specifically inhibited by the autonomic ganglion blocker hexamethonium bromide. These data demonstrate that brainstem activation may be the driver of both sensory and autonomic symptoms in these disorders, and part of this activation may be via the parasympathetic outflow to the cranial vasculature. Additionally, both sensory and autonomic manifestations were significantly inhibited by highly effective treatments for trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias, such as oxygen, indomethacin and triptans, and some part of their therapeutic action appears to be specifically on the parasympathetic outflow to the cranial vasculature. Treatments more used to migraine, such as naproxen and a calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor inhibitor, olcegepant, were less effective in this model. This is the first model to represent the phenotype of trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias and their response to therapies, and indicates the parasympathetic pathway may be uniquely involved in their pathophysiology and targeted to relieve symptoms.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk