Soluble guanylyl cyclase is a critical regulator of migraine-associated pain

Manel Ben Aissa, Alycia F. Tipton, Zachariah Bertels, Ronak Gandhi, Laura S. Moye, Madeline Novack, Brian M. Bennett, Yueting Wang, Vladislav Litosh, Sue H. Lee, Irina N. Gaisina, Gregory R.J. Thatcher, Amynah A. Pradhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Background: Nitric oxide (NO) has been heavily implicated in migraine. Nitroglycerin is a prototypic NO-donor, and triggers migraine in humans. However, nitroglycerin also induces oxidative/nitrosative stress and is a source of peroxynitrite – factors previously linked with migraine etiology. Soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) is the high affinity NO receptor in the body, and the aim of this study was to identify the precise role of sGC in acute and chronic migraine. Methods: We developed a novel brain-bioavailable sGC stimulator (VL-102), and tested its hyperalgesic properties in mice. We also determined the effect of VL-102 on c-fos and calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP) immunoreactivity within the trigeminovascular complex. In addition, we also tested the known sGC inhibitor, ODQ, within the chronic nitroglycerin migraine model. Results: VL-102-evoked acute and chronic mechanical cephalic and hind-paw allodynia in a dose-dependent manner, which was blocked by the migraine medications sumatriptan, propranolol, and topiramate. In addition, VL-102 also increased c-fos and CGRP expressing cells within the trigeminovascular complex. Importantly, ODQ completely inhibited acute and chronic hyperalgesia induced by nitroglycerin. ODQ also blocked hyperalgesia already established by chronic nitroglycerin, implicating this pathway in migraine chronicity. Conclusions: These results indicate that nitroglycerin causes migraine-related pain through stimulation of the sGC pathway, and that super-activation of this receptor may be an important component for the maintenance of chronic migraine. This work opens the possibility for negative sGC modulators as novel migraine therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1471-1484
Number of pages14
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • CGRP
  • Trigeminovascular pain
  • cGMP
  • mouse model
  • nitric oxide


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