Doctors at the University of Texas have studied the mechanism of a protein that causes migraines to understand why this chronic disease affects women more than men.
Migraine is a chronic disease that affects 15% of the world's population and 8 to 10 million French. Among the patients, there is a majority of women, who are almost three times more affected than men. How to explain this difference? A team of scientists from the University of Texas (Austin, USA) looked into the matter.
Published at the beginning of April in Journal of Neuroscience, the research was conducted on rodents. Researchers have studied the calcitonin protein CGRP (peptide linked to the calcitonin gene), known to trigger migraine attacks.
"We already know that CGRP calcitonin plays an important role in migraine and has been investigated for more than 30 years.CRGP calcoltin is produced in both the central nervous system - the brain and the spinal cord. spinal - and in the peripheral nervous system, which goes everywhere else, including the meninges, "says Dr. Greg Dussor, professor of neuroscience at the University of Texas and co-author of the study.
No pain in male rodents
The doctors injected small doses of CGRP calcitonin into the outer layer of the male and female rodent meninges. During the experiment, only the females had symptoms related to headaches. The researchers observed a similar pain reaction in females' feet, where calcitonin CGRP was also injected.
"This response shows that women can be more sensitive to CGRP throughout the body, not just in the meninges," says Dr. Dussor. "But we do not yet know what that means for other types of pain," he adds.
Since male rodents have not been affected by the introduction of CGRP in the meninges, Dr. Dussor's team suggests that calcitonin-based CGRP signaling of the meninges may contribute to an increased prevalence of this disorder in meningeal patients. wife. "This is just the beginning of demonstrations that the CGRP could act differently for women," concludes Dr. Greg Dussor.