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Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 Jul 2023 - 21 Jul 2023

Basic Science

Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology, Pharmacology/Drug Development

Migraine/Headache, Psychological/Comorbidities

2023 Jul 04



Both systemic Calcitonin Gene Related Peptide (CGRP) and a vestibular challenge promote anxiety-related behaviors and dynamic imbalance in mice.


Rahman SM, Hauser C, Faucher S, Fine E, Luebke AE


Motion-induced anxiety and agoraphobia are more frequent symptoms in patients with vestibular migraine than migraine without vertigo. The neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a therapeutic target for migraine and vestibular migraine, but the link between motion hypersensitivity, anxiety, and CGRP is relatively unexplored, especially in preclinical mouse models. To further examine this link, we tested the effects of systemic CGRP and off-vertical axis rotation (OVAR) on elevated plus maze (EPM) and rotarod performance in male and female C57BL/6J mice. Rotarod ability was assessed using two different dowel diameters: mouse dowel (r = 1.5 cm) versus rat dowel (r = 3.5 cm). EPM results indicate CGRP increased anxiety indexes and time spent in the closed arms in females but not males, while OVAR increased anxiety indexes and time spent in the closed arms in both sexes. The combination of CGRP and OVAR elicited even greater anxiety-like behavior. On the rotarod, CGRP reduced performance in both sexes on a mouse dowel but had no effect on a rat dowel, whereas OVAR had a significant effect on the rat dowel. Rotarod performance is influenced by dowel diameter, with larger dowels presenting greater challenges on balance function. These results suggest that both CGRP and vestibular stimulation induce anxiety-like behavior and that CGRP affects dynamic balance function in mice depending on the type of challenge presented. Findings highlight the potential translation of anti-CGRP receptor signaling therapeutics for treating motion hypersensitivity and motion-induced anxiety that manifests in vestibular migraine.