Advertisement

The Journal of Headache and Pain

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 67–72 | Cite as

Nitric oxide: emerging implications for headache mechanics

  • Alessandra Zicari
  • Mario Giacovazzo
  • Paolo Martelletti
Review

Abstract

The involvement of nitric oxide (NO) in the pathophysiology of primary headaches was suggested by several authors during the last decade. Migraine, cluster headache, tension headache, and cervicogenic headache have been extensively studied on the basis of NO donor headache pain. Different mechanisms seem to be involved in the generation of pain in these clearly different clinical head pain disorders. NO could control all the mechanisms leading to head pain. In migraine NO is correlated with endothelial activation, in cluster headache with a brainstem unravelling of the on/off regulatory clocks, in cervicogenic headache with a cytokine-dependent pain, and in tension-type headache with a sensitization of pain pathways at the spinal/trigeminal level. The next natural frontier in the study of pain in primary headaches seems to be the functional study of the relationship between NO and the immune regulatory system.

Key words Nitric oxide Migraine Tension-type headache Cerviogenic headache Cluster headache 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandra Zicari
    • 1
  • Mario Giacovazzo
    • 2
  • Paolo Martelletti
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Experimental, Medicine and Pathology, 1st Faculty of Medicine of Rome, “La Sapienza” University, “Azienda Policlinico Umberto I” Rome, ItalyIT
  2. 2.Headache Center, Institute of Internal Medicine, 2nd Faculty of Medicine of Rome “La Sapienza” University, Azienda Policlinico S. Andrea, Via di Grottarossa 1035-1039-I-00189, Rome, Italy, e-mail: paolo.martelletti@uniromal.it, Tel: +39-06-80345250, Fax: +39-06-80345323IT

Personalised recommendations