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Increases in meningeal blood flow following noxious stimulation of rat facial mucosa Involvement of trigeminal and parasympathetic nerve fibers



Increases in meningeal blood flow following noxious stimulation of rat facial mucosa Involvement of trigeminal and parasympathetic nerve fibers



Society for Neuroscience Abstracts 27(1): 148



Headaches are frequently associated with increases in cerebral and meningeal blood flow. The trigeminal and in specific diseases (e.g. cluster headache, orofacial affections) the parasympathetic system may be involved in mediating the vascular effects. In an animal model we examined changes in meningeal blood flow and lacrimation caused by noxious stimulation of facial mucosa. Meningeal blood flow was monitored in the exposed cranial dura mater of the rat using laser Doppler flowmetry. Lacrimation was measured by collecting the tear fluid. Stimulation of oral or nasal mucosa with capsaicin (10-6-10-3 M) induced dose-dependent increases in blood flow and lacrimation. These responses were reduced by i.v. injection of hexamethonium chloride (20 mg/kg). Administration of atropine (10-3 M) and (Lys1,Pro2,5,Arg3,4,Tyr6)-VIP (10-4 M), an antagonist of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) receptors, onto the dura mater abolished the blood flow increases. Flow increases caused by nasal but not oral capsaicin stimulation were also reduced by local application of CGRP8-37 (10-4 M), an antagonist of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptors. We conclude that noxious stimulation of mucosal tissues activates trigeminal afferents and a parasympathetic reflex which cause increased meningeal blood flow and lacrimation. The flow increase depends in part on the release of VIP and CGRP in the dura mater. The link between extrameningeal trigeminal afferents and meningeal parasympathetic efferents may contribute to the pathogenesis of headaches induced by affections of intracranial blood vessels and facial mucosa.

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