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Introduction: The neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is recognized as a critical player in migraine pathophysiology. Excitement has grown regarding CGRP because of the development and clinical testing of drugs targeting CGRP or its receptor. While these drugs alleviate migraine symptoms in half of the patients, the remaining unresponsive half of this population creates an impetus to address unanswered questions that exist in this field.Areas covered: We describe the role of CGRP in migraine pathophysiology and CGRP-targeted therapeutics currently under development and in use. We also discuss how a second CGRP receptor may provide a new therapeutic target.Expert opinion: CGRP-targeting drugs have shown a remarkable safety profile. We speculate that this may reflect the redundancy of peptides within the CGRP family and a second CGRP receptor that may compensate for reduced CGRP activity. Furthermore, we propose that an inherent safety feature of peptide-blocking antibodies is attributed to the fundamental nature of peptide release, which occurs as a large bolus in short bursts of volume transmission. These facts support the development of more refined CGRP therapeutic drugs, as well as drugs that target other neuropeptides. We believe that the future of migraine research is bright with exciting advances on the horizon.


Anne-Sophie Wattiez, Levi P Sowers, Andrew F Russo. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP): role in migraine pathophysiology and therapeutic targeting. Expert opinion on therapeutic targets. 2020 Feb;24(2):91-100

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PMID: 32003253

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