Calcitonin gene-related peptide in viscerosensitive response to colorectal distension in rats

Am J Physiol. 1997 Jul;273(1 Pt 1):G191-6. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.1997.273.1.G191.


The role of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) on colorectal distension-induced visceral pain was investigated in conscious rats. Intracolonic administration of acetic acid (0.6%) resulted in a significantly increased number of abdominal contractions in response to colorectal balloon distension from 5.8 +/- 1.2 in controls to 16.6 +/- 1.0 in acetic acid-treated animals (P < 0.05), evidencing sensitization of visceral afferent pathways and subsequently visceral hyperalgesia. This sensitization phenomenon was not observed in animals previously treated with systemic capsaicin. Likewise, in animals not treated with capsaicin, use of an intravenous antagonist for CGRP [human CGRP-(8-37)], completely reversed the sensitizing effects of acetic acid. Furthermore, intravenous administration of CGRP dose dependently increased the number of abdominal contractions in response to colorectal distension from 3.0 +/- 1.1 (CGRP 250 ng) to 17.0 +/- 1.2 (CGRP 500 ng, P < 0.05), as previously observed in acetic acid-treated animals. Finally, intrathecal administration of hCGRP-(8-37) (mid-lumbar) also resulted in a total dose-dependent reversal of CGRP (500 ng) or acetic acid-induced visceral hypersensitivity. These results demonstrate that CGRP plays a major role in this model of visceral afferent nerve sensitization from gastrointestinal origin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen
  • Acetic Acid / toxicity*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide / pharmacology*
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide / physiology*
  • Capsaicin / toxicity*
  • Colon / drug effects
  • Colon / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Smooth / drug effects
  • Muscle, Smooth / physiology*
  • Pain
  • Peptide Fragments / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Rectum / drug effects
  • Rectum / physiology*


  • Peptide Fragments
  • calcitonin gene-related peptide (8-37)
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide
  • Acetic Acid
  • Capsaicin