Calcitonin gene-related peptide as inflammatory mediator

Jochen Springer, Pierangelo Geppetti, Axel Fischer, David A. Groneberg

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109 Citations (Scopus)


Sensory neuropeptides have been proposed to play a key role in the pathogenesis of a number of respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or chronic cough. Next to prominent neuropeptides such as tachykinins or vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) has long been suggested to participate in airway physiology and pathophysiology. CGRP is a 37 amino-acid peptide which is expressed by nerve fibers projecting to the airways and by pulmonary neuroendocrine cells.

The most prominent effects of CGRP in the airways are vasodilatation and in a few instances bronchoconstriction. A further pulmonary effect of CGRP is the induction of eosinophil migration and the stimulation of β-integrin-mediated T cell adhesion to fibronectin at the site of inflammation. By contrast, CGRP inhibits macrophage secretion and the capacity of macrophages to activate T-cells, indicating a potential anti-inflammatory effect.

Due to the complex pulmonary effects of CGRP with bronchoconstriction and vasodilatation and diverse immunomodulatory actions, potential anti-asthma drugs based on this peptide have not been established so far. However, targeting the effects of CGRP may be of value for future strategies in nerve modulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-130
Number of pages10
JournalPulmonary Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2003

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