Evidence for increased plasma levels of calcitonin gene-related peptide in migraine outside of attacks

Pain. 2000 May;86(1-2):133-8. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3959(00)00232-3.


Although calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) has been shown to be elevated in jugular venous blood of adult migraineurs during acute migraine attacks, it remains unknown whether CGRP is increased outside of attacks in jugular or cubital venous blood. The aim of the present study was to compare interictal plasma levels of CGRP in adult migraine patients and in healthy controls. Twenty patients with a diagnosis of migraine with or without aura and 20 healthy controls were included. In blood from the cubital vein, CGRP levels were significantly higher in patients (75+/-8 pmol/l (mean+/-SEM)) than in controls (49+/-3 pmol/l) (P=0.005). The subgroup of patients suffering exclusively from migraine without aura (n=14) also had significantly higher levels of CGRP (82+/-10 pmol/l) than controls (n=20; 49+/-3 pmol/l) (P=0.001). The findings could not be explained by confounding factors such as age, sex or use of contraceptive pills. We therefore conclude that CGRP is increased in cubital venous blood of migraineurs outside of attack. It is hypothesized that this finding may reflect a long-lasting or permanent abnormal neurogenic vascular control in patients with migraine.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide / blood*
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / blood*
  • Radioimmunoassay


  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide