Activation of TRPA1 on dural afferents: A potential mechanism of headache pain

Rebecca M. Edelmayer, Larry N. Le, Jin Yan, Xiaomei Wei, Romina Nassini, Serena Materazzi, Delia Preti, Giovanni Appendino, Pierangelo Geppetti, David W. Dodick, Todd W. Vanderah, Frank Porreca, Gregory Dussor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Activation of transient receptor potential ankyrin-1 (TRPA1) on meningeal nerve endings has been suggested to contribute to environmental irritant-induced headache, but this channel may also contribute to other forms of headache, such as migraine. The preclinical studies described here examined functional expression of TRPA1 on dural afferents and investigated whether activation of TRPA1 contributes to headache-like behaviors. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings were performed in vitro with 2 TRPA1 agonists, mustard oil (MO), and the environmental irritant umbellulone (UMB) on dural-projecting trigeminal ganglion neurons. Application of MO and UMB to dural afferents produced TRPA1-like currents in approximately 42% and 38% of cells, respectively. By means of an established in vivo behavioral model of migraine-related allodynia, dural application of MO and UMB produced robust time-related tactile facial and hind paw allodynia that was attenuated by pretreatment with the TRPA1 antagonist HC-030031. Additionally, MO or UMB were applied to the dura, and exploratory activity was monitored for 30 min with an automated open-field activity chamber. Dural MO and UMB decreased the number of vertical rearing episodes and the time spent rearing in comparison to vehicle-treated animals. This change in activity was prevented in rats pretreated with HC-030031 as well as sumatriptan, a clinically effective antimigraine agent. These data indicate that TRPA1 is expressed on a substantial fraction of dural afferents, and activation of meningeal TRPA1 produces behaviors consistent with those observed in patients during migraine attacks. Further, they suggest that activation of meningeal TRPA1 via endogenous or exogenous mechanisms can lead to afferent signaling and headache.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1949-1958
Number of pages10
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Allodynia
  • Dura
  • Headache
  • Migraine
  • Mustard oil
  • TRPA1
  • Umbellulone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Activation of TRPA1 on dural afferents: A potential mechanism of headache pain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this