Evaluation Of CGRP And VIP As Biological Markers In Activation Of Trigeminal And Parasympathetic Nerves In Response To Sinus Symptoms

Date of Graduation

Fall 2004


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Paul Durham


Release of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) are thought to play key roles in the pathology of migraine and sinus headache. To determine the involvement of trigeminal sensory and parasympathetic nerve activation, the levels of CGRP and VIP were evaluated in human saliva samples by radioimmunoassay. In the saliva collection validation study, basal saliva samples were collected from asymptomatic control subjects on consecutive days. Basal levels of total volume, protein, and CGRP did not significantly change on consecutive days or during five minutes of collection. However, there were changes between individual subjects in total volume, protein, and CGRP. In the clinical study, basal saliva samples were collected from nonsymptomatic control, allergic rhinosinusitis, and migraine subjects on consecutive days. The control group had no significant change in CGRP or VIP levels. However, basal levels were elevated in allergic rhinosinusitis and migraine subjects compared to control values. CGRP levels for allergic rhinosinusitis subjects were significantly decreased after an allergy attack and treatment with pseudoephedrine hydrochloride coincident with decreased pain. There were no significant changes in the migraine subjects during the collection period involving attack, 2 h after treatment with sumatriptan, and relief conditions. There was a correlation between CGRP and VIP levels which supports the intimate relationship between trigeminal and parasympathetic nerve activation. Data from our studies may lead to a better understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of sinus headache and migraine and possibly future pharmacological targets.


CGRP, VIP, migraine, allergic rhinosinusitis, sinus headache, trigeminal, parasympathetic

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© Jaime L. Bellamy