Hypersensitivity to calcitonin gene-related peptide in chronic migraine

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Cephalalgia, Ahead of Print.
ObjectiveTo investigate if calcitonin gene-related peptide infusion induces migraine-like attacks in chronic migraine patients.MethodsFifty-eight patients with chronic migraine, either with or without headache on the experimental day, were assessed for the incidence of migraine-like attacks after an intravenous infusion with calcitonin gene-related peptide 1.5 µg/min over 20 min. The primary endpoint was the incidence of migraine-like attacks after calcitonin gene-related peptide. Exploratory endpoints were the association between the incidence of migraine-like attacks and presence of headache on the experimental day, and headache frequency in the past month. Migraine-like attack data was compared to a historic cohort of 91 episodic migraine patients without headache on the experimental day. Total tenderness score, pressure-pain threshold and supra-threshold pressure pain at baseline were investigated in relation to incidence of migraine-like attacks and presence of headache on the experimental day.ResultsIn total, 83% of the 58 chronic migraine patients developed migraine-like attacks after calcitonin gene-related peptide infusion. Migraine-like attacks were found in 92% of chronic migraine patients with headache on the experimental day compared to 65% of chronic migraine patients without headache on the experimental day (p = 0.035). No differences were observed in total tenderness score and pressure-pain threshold between chronic migraine patients with and without headache on the experimental day. The incidence of migraine-like attacks following calcitonin gene-related peptide in chronic migraine patients without headache (65%) was equal to the historic cohort of 91 episodic migraine patients without headache (67%) on the experimental day.ConclusionsChronic migraine patients are hypersensitive to calcitonin gene-related peptide. The potency of calcitonin gene-related peptide as a migraine inductor is increased in chronic migraine patients with ongoing headache. We suggest that calcitonin gene-related peptide, besides being a migraine trigger also acts as a modulator of nociceptive transmission in the trigeminal system.

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