Author(s): Gangula PR, Wimalawansa SJ, Yallampalli C
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Abstract Calcitonin-gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a 37 amino acid neuropeptide synthesized primarily in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and distributed widely in the perivascular nerves, suggesting that this peptide may play a role in the regulation of peripheral vascular tone. Since female sex steroid hormones have been implicated in the regulation of peripheral vascular tone during pregnancy, we postulated that they may alter the concentration of CGRP in the circulation and thus modulate the increased blood flow observed during pregnancy. In the present study, we measured changes in plasma concentrations of CGRP in non-pregnant, pregnant, and post-partum rats. Groups of ovariectomized rats were treated s.c. for 3 days either with 17beta-oestradiol (2.5 microg per injection twice daily), progesterone (2 mg per injection twice daily), or vehicle. Another group of adult, non-pregnant rats at dioestrus stage of the oestrous cycle was also used in this study. Plasma concentrations of CGRP were higher (P < 0.05) in rats on day 19 of pregnancy (22.0 +/- 3.0 pmol/l) compared to that during delivery (5. 0 +/- 2.0), post-partum day 2 (2.0 +/- 0.7) or in non-pregnant (4.9 +/- 1.6) state. Furthermore, in adult ovariectomized (6.0 +/- 0.6) rats, plasma CGRP concentrations were increased significantly (P < 0. 05) by oestradiol (10.0 +/- 1.0), progesterone (9.5 +/- 1.0) and oestradiol + progesterone (14.0 +/- 1.0). Thus, circulating concentrations of CGRP are elevated during pregnancy and by oestrogen and progesterone, suggesting that the elevated concentrations of CGRP may play an important role in vascular adaptations that occur during pregnancy.
This article was published in Hum Reprod
and referenced in Reproductive System & Sexual Disorders: Current Research