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Papers of the Week

Papers: 28 Nov 2020 - 4 Dec 2020

Animal Studies


2020 Nov 25


Increase in trigeminal ganglion neurons that respond to both CGRP and PACAP in mouse models of chronic migraine and post-traumatic headache.


A large body of animal and human studies indicate that blocking peripheral calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) signaling pathways may prevent migraine episodes and reduce headache frequency. To investigate whether recurring migraine episodes alter the strength of CGRP and PACAP signaling in trigeminal ganglion (TG) neurons, we compared the number of TG neurons that respond to CGRP and to PACAP (CGRP-R and PACAP-R, respectively) under normal and chronic migraine-like conditions. In a mouse model of chronic migraine, repeated nitroglycerin (NTG) administration significantly increased the number of CGRP-R and PACAP-R neurons in TG but not dorsal root ganglia. In TG neurons that express endogenous αCGRP, repeated NTG led to a 7-fold increase in the number of neurons that respond to both CGRP and PACAP (CGRP-R&PACAP-R). The majority of these neurons were unmyelinated C-fiber nociceptors. This suggests that a larger fraction of CGRP signaling in TG nociceptors may be mediated through the autocrine mechanism, and the release of endogenous αCGRP can be enhanced by both CGRP and PACAP signaling pathways under chronic migraine condition. The number of CGRP-R&PACAP-R TG neurons was also increased in a mouse model of post-traumatic headache (PTH). Interestingly, low-dose interleukin-2 treatment, which completely reverses chronic migraine- and PTH-related behaviors in mouse models, also blocked the increase in both CGRP-R and PACAP-R TG neurons. Together, these results suggest that inhibition of both CGRP and PACAP signaling in TG neurons may be more effective in treating chronic migraine and PTH than targeting individual signaling pathways.