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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 Nov 2023 - 17 Nov 2023

2023 Nov 08



SARS-CoV-2 induces acute neurological signs while Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP) signaling blockade reduces interleukin 6 (IL-6) release and weight loss in mouse models.


Rahman SM, Buchholz DW, Imbiakha B, Jager MC, Leach J, Osborn RM, Birmingham AO, Dewhurst S, Aguilar HC, Luebke AE


COVID-19 can result in neurological symptoms such as fever, headache, dizziness, and nausea. We evaluated whether the Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP) receptor antagonist, olcegepant, used in migraine treatment could mitigate acute neuroinflammatory and neurological responses to SARS-COV-2 infection. We infected wildtype C57BL/6J and 129/SvEv mice, and a 129 αCGRP-null mouse line with a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV-2 virus, and evaluated the effect of CGRP receptor antagonism on the outcome of that infection. We determined that CGRP receptor antagonism provided protection from permanent weight loss in older (>12 m) C57BL/6J and 129 SvEv mice. We also observed acute fever and motion-induced dizziness in all older mice, regardless of treatment. However, in both wildtype mouse lines, CGRP antagonism reduced acute interleukin 6 (IL-6) levels by half, with virtually no IL-6 release in mice lacking αCGRP. These findings suggest that blockage of CGRP signaling protects against acute IL-6 release and subsequent inflammatory events after SARS-CoV-2 infection.