Dihydroergotamine and sumatriptan in isolated human coronary artery, middle meningeal artery and saphenous vein

Cephalalgia. 2015 Feb;35(2):182-9. doi: 10.1177/0333102414544977. Epub 2014 Jul 30.


Background: Dihydroergotamine (DHE) and sumatriptan are contraindicated in patients with cardiovascular disease because of their vasoconstricting properties, which have originally been explored in proximal coronary arteries. Our aim was to investigate DHE and sumatriptan in the proximal and distal coronary artery, middle meningeal artery and saphenous vein.

Methods: Blood vessel segments were mounted in organ baths and concentration response curves for DHE and sumatriptan were constructed.

Results: In the proximal coronary artery, meningeal artery and saphenous vein, maximal contractions to DHE (proximal: 8 ± 4%; meningeal: 32 ± 7%; saphenous: 52 ± 11%) and sumatriptan (proximal: 17 ± 7%; meningeal: 61 ± 18%, saphenous: 37 ± 8%) were not significantly different. In the distal coronary artery, contractions to DHE (5 ± 2%) were significantly smaller than those to sumatriptan (17 ± 9%). At clinically relevant concentrations, mean contractions to DHE and sumatriptan were below 3% in proximal coronary arteries and below 6% in distal coronary arteries. Contractions in the meningeal artery and saphenous vein were higher (7%-38%).

Conclusions: Contractions to DHE in distal coronary arteries are smaller than those to sumatriptan, while at clinical concentrations they both induce only slight contractions. In meningeal arteries contractions to DHE and sumatriptan are significantly larger, showing their cranioselectivity. Contractions to DHE in the saphenous vein are higher than those in the arteries, confirming its venous contractile properties.

Keywords: 5-HT; Migraine; dihydroergotamine; human coronary artery; sumatriptan; vasoconstriction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Coronary Vessels / drug effects*
  • Dihydroergotamine / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meningeal Arteries / drug effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Saphenous Vein / drug effects*
  • Sumatriptan / pharmacology*
  • Vasoconstriction / drug effects
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents / pharmacology*
  • Young Adult


  • Vasoconstrictor Agents
  • Dihydroergotamine
  • Sumatriptan