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Keywords:

  • calcitonin gene-related peptide;
  • headache;
  • migraine;
  • pain;
  • trigeminal nerve

The neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is implicated in the underlying pathology of migraine. Serum levels of CGRP, which are elevated during a migraine attack, have been reported to return to normal with alleviation of pain. In addition, CGRP administration has been shown to cause a migraine-like headache in susceptible individuals. Importantly, CGRP receptors are found on many cell types within the trigeminovascular system that are thought to play important roles in controlling inflammatory and nociceptive processes. Based on these findings, it was proposed that blockage of CGRP receptor function and, hence, the physiological effects of CGRP would be effective in aborting a migraine attack. This review will summarize key preclinical data that support the therapeutic potential of using CGRP receptor antagonists or molecules that bind CGRP within the context of current neurovascular theories on migraine pathology.