Regulation of airway hyperresponsiveness by calcitonin gene-related peptide in allergen sensitized and challenged mice

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2002 Apr 15;165(8):1137-44. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.165.8.2109058.


Sensory neuropeptides are localized to airway nerves and endocrine cells in both human and animal species and may participate in the development of airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness (AHR). We used a mouse model to identify the changes that occur in calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) expression in the airways during development of allergic inflammation and to investigate the potential role of this neuropeptide in modulating AHR. In sensitized mice, allergen challenge induced eosinophilic airway inflammation and AHR and resulted in considerable depletion of CGRP in neuroepithelial bodies and submucosal nerve plexuses without altering the overall density of airway nerve fibers. This depletion was subsequent to the development of airway inflammation and was prevented by anti-very late antigen-4 and anti-interleukin-5 treatments, which blocked airway eosinophilia and abolished AHR. Administration of CGRP to sensitized and challenged mice resulted in the normalization of airway responsiveness to inhaled methacholine, an effect that was neutralized by the receptor antagonist CGRP(8-37). These data demonstrate that replacement of CGRP following its depletion in allergic mice can reverse the changes in airway responsiveness and suggest that CGRP may have potential for the treatment of allergic AHR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology
  • Animals
  • Antibodies / pharmacology
  • Bronchi / chemistry
  • Bronchi / drug effects
  • Bronchi / pathology
  • Bronchi / physiopathology
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / metabolism*
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide / metabolism*
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide / pharmacology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Eosinophils / pathology
  • Immunization
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inflammation
  • Integrin alpha4beta1
  • Integrins / immunology
  • Interleukin-5 / immunology
  • Lung / chemistry
  • Lung / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Muscle, Smooth / drug effects
  • Muscle, Smooth / physiology
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing / immunology
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / metabolism
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / pathology
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / physiopathology*


  • Allergens
  • Antibodies
  • Integrin alpha4beta1
  • Integrins
  • Interleukin-5
  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing
  • Ovalbumin
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide