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Extracranial activation of ATP-sensitive potassium channels induces vasodilation without nociceptive effects

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INTRODUCTION: Levcromakalim opens ATP-sensitive potassium channels (KATP channel) and induces head pain in healthy volunteers and migraine headache in migraine patients, but no pain in other parts of the body. KATP channels are expressed in C- and Aδ-fibers, and these channels might directly activate nociceptors and thereby evoke pain in humans.

METHODS: To assess the local effect of KATP channel opening in trigeminal and extra-trigeminal regions, we performed a crossover, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in healthy volunteers. Participants received intradermal and intramuscular injections of levcromakalim and placebo in the forehead and the forearms.

RESULTS: Intradermal and intramuscular injections of levcromakalim did not evoke more pain compared to placebo in the forehead (p > 0.05) and the forearms (p > 0.05). Intradermal injection of levcromakalim caused more flare (p < 0.001), skin temperature increase (p < 0.001), and skin blood flow increase (p < 0.001) compared to placebo in the forehead and the forearms.

CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that it is unlikely that levcromakalim induces head pain by direct activation of peripheral neurons.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCephalalgia : an international journal of headache
Volume39
Issue number14
Pages (from-to)1789-1797
Number of pages9
ISSN0333-1024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ID: 58917737