Ligusticum chuanxiong (LC)-Gastrodia elata (GE) compatibility is widely used in the clinic for the treatment of migraine. It has been shown that the changes of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system are closely related to the pathogenesis of migraine; whether LC-GE compatibility might affect the neurotransmitters in migraine rats has not yet been studied. In this study, high performance liquid chromatography-fluorescence detector methods for quantification of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) and excitatory amino acids (EAAs) in rat brain were developed. The 5-HT was measured directly, while EAAs were determined by using dansyl chloride as precolumn derivative reagent. The validation of the methods, including selectivity, linearity, sensitivity, precision, accuracy, recoveries, and stability were carried out and demonstrated to meet the requirements of quantitative analysis. Compared with the model group, the expression of 5-HT in migraine rat brain was enhanced from 30 minutes to 120 minutes and glutamate (L-Glu) was suppressed from 30 minutes to 60 minutes in an LC-GE (4:3) group compared with the model group (p < 0.05, p < 0.01, respectively). These findings showed that the analytical methods were simple, sensitive, selective, and low cost, and LC-GE 4:3 compatibility could have better efficacy for treating migraine through upregulating 5-HT levels and downregulating L-Glu levels. © 2015, Food and Drug Administration, Taiwan. Published by Elsevier Taiwan LLC.

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