Migraine is one of the most common disorders affecting the general population, resulting in a staggering amount of episodic disability and lost productivity worldwide. Despite the extraordinarily high prevalence of migraine, our understanding of its pathophysiology is incomplete. Moreover, while there has been significant progress in the acute treatment of migraine attacks, the ability to treat frequent and chronically disabling migraine, remains severely limited. There continue to be millions of individuals for whom currently available migraine therapies are either ineffective or poorly tolerated.
A significant obstacle to the identification of new migraine therapies has been the lack of predictive animal models, and it has been particularly difficult to study the progression of migraine from an episodic to a chronic disorder. We have recently developed a novel chronic migraine model in mice using the known human migraine trigger, nitroglycerin. Our work shows that chronic intermittent treatment with nitroglycerin produces an acute and chronic hyperalgesia. This model is translationally significant, and prototypic acute and preventative anti-migraine therapies inhibited nitroglycerin-induced hypersensitivity. We are currently using this model to identify novel drug targes, and to characterize the mechanisms that result in the chronification of migraine. Amynah Pradhan, PhD