I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

Papers: 1 Apr 2023 - 7 Apr 2023


Molecular/Cellular, Pharmacology/Drug Development


2023 Apr 03

J Headache Pain




Shared and independent roles of CGRP and PACAP in migraine pathophysiology.


Kuburas A, Russo AF


The neuropeptides calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) have emerged as mediators of migraine pathogenesis. Both are vasodilatory peptides that can cause migraine-like attacks when infused into people and migraine-like symptoms when injected into rodents. In this narrative review, we compare the similarities and differences between the peptides in both their clinical and preclinical migraine actions. A notable clinical difference is that PACAP, but not CGRP, causes premonitory-like symptoms in patients. Both peptides are found in distinct, but overlapping areas relevant to migraine, most notably with the prevalence of CGRP in trigeminal ganglia and PACAP in sphenopalatine ganglia. In rodents, the two peptides share activities, including vasodilation, neurogenic inflammation, and nociception. Most strikingly, CGRP and PACAP cause similar migraine-like symptoms in rodents that are manifested as light aversion and tactile allodynia. Yet, the peptides appear to act by independent mechanisms possibly by distinct intracellular signaling pathways. The complexity of these signaling pathways is magnified by the existence of multiple CGRP and PACAP receptors that may contribute to migraine pathogenesis. Based on these differences, we suggest PACAP and its receptors provide a rich set of targets to complement and augment the current CGRP-based migraine therapeutics.