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The effect of pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide-38 and vasoactive intestinal peptide in cluster headache

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BACKGROUND: Previously reported increases in serum levels of vasodilating neuropeptides pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide-38 (PACAP38) and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) during attacks of cluster headache could indicate their involvement in cluster headache attack initiation. We investigated the attack-inducing effects of PACAP38 and vasoactive intestinal peptide in cluster headache, hypothesising that PACAP38, but not vasoactive intestinal peptide, would induce cluster-like attacks in episodic active phase and chronic cluster headache patients.

METHODS: In a double-blind crossover study, 14 episodic cluster headache patients in active phase, 15 episodic cluster headache patients in remission phase and 15 chronic cluster headache patients were randomly allocated to receive intravenous infusion of PACAP38 (10 pmol/kg/min) or vasoactive intestinal peptide (8 pmol/kg/min) over 20 min on two study days separated by at least 7 days. We recorded headache intensity, incidence of cluster-like attacks, cranial autonomic symptoms and vital signs using a questionnaire (0-90 min).

RESULTS: In episodic cluster headache active phase, PACAP38 induced cluster-like attacks in 6/14 patients and vasoactive intestinal peptide induced cluster-like attacks in 5/14 patients (p = 1.000). In chronic cluster headache, PACAP38 and vasoactive intestinal peptide both induced cluster-like attacks in 7/15 patients (p = 0.765). In episodic cluster headache remission phase, neither PACAP38 nor vasoactive intestinal peptide induced cluster-like attacks.

CONCLUSIONS: Contrary to our hypothesis, attack induction was lower than expected and roughly equal by PACAP38 and vasoactive intestinal peptide in episodic active phase and chronic cluster headache patients, which contradicts the PAC1-receptor as being solely responsible for attack induction.Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov (identifier NCT03814226).

Original languageEnglish
JournalCephalalgia : an international journal of headache
Volume40
Issue number13
Pages (from-to)1474-1488
Number of pages15
ISSN0333-1024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

    Research areas

  • Cluster headache, pituitary adenylate-cyclase activating peptide-38, vasoactive intestinal peptide, VIP

ID: 60922616