Primary headaches such as migraine are postulated to involve the activation of sensory trigeminal pain neurons that innervate intracranial blood vessels and the dura mater. It is suggested that local activation of these sensory nerves may involve dural mast cells as one factor in local inflammation, causing sensitization of meningeal nociceptors. Immunofluorescence was used to study the detailed distribution of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and its receptor components calcitonin receptor-like receptor (CLR) and receptor activity-modifying protein 1 (RAMP1) in whole-mount rat dura mater and in human dural vessels. The relative distributions of CGRP, CLR, and RAMP1 were evaluated with respect to each other and in relationship to mast cells, myelin, substance P, neuronal nitric oxide synthase, pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide, and vasoactive intestinal peptide. CGRP expression was found in thin unmyelinated fibers, whereas CLR and RAMP1 were expressed in thicker myelinated fibers coexpressed with an A-fiber marker. CLR and RAMP1 immunoreactivity colocalized with mast cell tryptase in rodent; however, expression of both receptor components was not observed in human mast cells. Immunoreactive substance P fibers coexpressed CGRP, although neuronal nitric oxide synthase and vasoactive intestinal peptide expression was very limited, and these fibers were distinct from the CGRP-positive fibers. Few pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide immunoreactive fibers occurred and some colocalized with CGRP.
Journal of Pain, 2013, Vol 14, Issue 11, p. 1289-1303