Regulation of calcitonin gene-related peptide secretion by a serotonergic antimigraine drug


We have investigated the regulation of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) release from trigeminal neurons by the serotonergic antimigraine drug sumatriptan. Serum levels of the neuropeptide CGRP are elevated during migraine. Treatment with the drug sumatriptan returns CGRP levels to normal coincident with the alleviation of headache. However, despite this clinical efficacy, the cellular target and mechanism of sumatriptan action are not well understood beyond the pharmacology of its recognition of the 5-HT1 class of serotonin receptors. We have used cultured trigeminal neurons to demonstrate that sumatriptan can directly repress CGRP secretion from sensory neurons. The stimulated secretion in response to depolarization or inflammatory agents was inhibited, but not the basal secretion rate. Unexpectedly, sumatriptan did not lower cAMP levels, n contrast to the classical role ascribed to the 5-HT1 receptors. Instead, activation of 5- HT1 receptors caused a slow and remarkably prolonged increase in intracellular calcium. The inhibition of CGRP secretion is attenuated by the phosphatase inhibitor okadaic acid, suggesting that sumatriptan action is mediated by calcium-recruited phosphatases. These results suggest that 5- HT1 agonists may block a deleterious feedback loop in migraine at the trigeminal neurons and provide a general mechanism by which this class of drugs can attenuate stimulated neuropeptide release.

Document Type





Calcium, CGRP, Migraine, Neuropeptide, Phosphatase, Serotonin receptors, Trigeminal neurons

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Neuroscience