mRNA distribution of CGRP and its receptor components in the trigeminovascular system and other pain related structures in rat brain, and effect of intracerebroventricular administration of CGRP on Fos expression in the TNC
Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) infusion in humans provokes headache resembling spontaneous migraine, and CGRP receptor antagonists are effective against acute migraine. We hypothesized that CGRP infusion in the lateral ventricle (LV) will induce neuronal activation reflected by increase in Fos expression in the trigeminal nucleus caudalis (TNC). CGRP was infused intracerebroventricularly (i.c.v.) in freely moving rats to circumvent factors like anaesthesia, acute surgery and severe hypotension, three confounding factors for Fos expression. TNCs were isolated 2h after CGRP infusion. The level of Fos protein expression in TNC was analysed by immunohistochemistry (IHC). mRNA expression of CGRP and its receptor components in trigeminovascular and other pain processing structures in the brain was also studied. CGRP i.c.v. infusion did not induce Fos activation in the TNC. mRNA expression profile showed that CGRP and its receptor components were widely distributed in trigeminovascular and other pain processing structures. The widespread presence of CGRP receptor mRNA in the various central pain pathways suggests that CGRP might play a role in migraine pathogenesis.