Background Migraine is much more common in females than in males, and occurrence is associated with changes in female sex hormones. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) plays a key role in migraine, and variations in female sex hormones may affect CGRP sensitivity and/or production. Objectives Investigate repeatability, gender differences, influence of the menstrual cycle and of migraine on CGRP-dependent changes in dermal blood flow (DBF). Methods CGRP-dependent increases in DBF were assessed using laser Doppler perfusion imaging after topical application of 300 or 1000 μg capsaicin on the forearm of healthy subjects and migraine patients. Results In healthy males, DBF response did not vary over time and was comparable with DBF in male migraineurs. In healthy females, capsaicin-induced DBF responses to both doses of capsaicin were higher during menstruation compared to the late-secretory phase (p < 0.05); this menstrual cycle dependence was absent in female migraine patients. Compared to healthy subjects, female migraineurs displayed a higher DBF response both during menstruation and during the late-secretory phase (p < 0.05). Conclusions An increased capsaicin-induced, CGRP-mediated DBF response was observed during menstruation in healthy women, but in female migraine patients this increased response was not affected by the menstrual cycle.

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Keywords capsaicin, CGRP, menstrual cycle, Migraine, sex hormones, TRPV1
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Journal Cephalalgia: an international journal of headache
Ibrahimi, K, Vermeersch, S, Frederiks, P. (Pascal), Geldhof, V. (Vincent), Draulans, C. (Cedric), Buntinx, L. (Linde), … de Hoon, J.N. (2017). The influence of migraine and female hormones on capsaicin-induced dermal blood flow. Cephalalgia: an international journal of headache, 37(12), 1164–1172. doi:10.1177/0333102416668659