Background: Migraine is two to three times more prevalent in women than in men, but the mechanisms involved in this gender disparity are still poorly understood. In this respect, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) plays a key role in migraine pathophysiology and, more recently, the functional interactions between ovarian steroid hormones, CGRP and the trigeminovascular system have been recognized and studied in more detail. Aims: To provide an overview of CGRP studies that have addressed gender differences utilizing animal and human migraine preclinical research models to highlight how the female trigeminovascular system responds differently in the presence of varying ovarian steroid hormones. Conclusions: Gender differences are evident in migraine. Several studies indicate that fluctuations of ovarian steroid hormone (mainly estrogen) levels modulate CGRP in the trigeminovascular system during different reproductive milestones. Such interactions need to be considered when conducting future animal and human experiments, since these differences may contribute to the development of gender-specific therapies.

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Cephalalgia: an international journal of headache
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Labastida-Ramírez, A. (Alejandro), Rubio-Beltrán, E., Villalón, C., & Maassen van den Brink, A. (2017). Gender aspects of CGRP in migraine. Cephalalgia: an international journal of headache. doi:10.1177/0333102417739584