Limitations in using peptide drugs to characterize calcitonin gene-related peptide receptors

D J J Waugh, C S Bockman, D D Smith, P W Abel

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is an endogenous vasodilator peptide that produces its effects by activation of CGRP(1) and CGRP(2) receptor subtypes, These receptor subtypes are characterized in functional studies using the agonist Cys(Acm)(2,7)-human-alpha-calcitonin gene-related peptide (Cys(ACM)(2,7)-h-alpha-CGRP), which activates CGRP(2) receptors, and the antagonist h-alpha CGRP(8-37) which has a high affinity for CGRP, receptors and a low affinity for CGRP(2) receptors. Our aim was to identify factors that may limit the use of these drugs to characterize CGRP receptor subtypes. We studied CGRP receptors using isolated ring segments of pig coronary and basilar arteries studied in vitro. The affinity of the antagonist h-alpha CGRP(8-37) for inhibiting h-alpha CGRP-induced relaxation of coronary arteries (log(10) of the antagonist equilibrium dissociation constant = -5.33) was determined from Schild plots that had steep slopes. Therefore, we used capsaicin to investigate the role of endogenous CGRP in confounding affinity measurements for h-alpha CGRP(8-37). After capsaicin treatment, the slopes of the Schild plots were not different from one, and a higher affinity of h-CGRP(8-37) in blocking relaxation was obtained (log(10) of the antagonist equilibrium dissociation constant = -6.01). We also investigated the agonist activity of the putative CGRP, receptor selective agonist Cys(Acm)(2,7)-h-alpha-CGRP. We found that maximal relaxation of coronary arteries caused by Cys(Acm)(2,7)-h-alpha CGRP was dependent upon the level of contractile tone induced by KCI. We also determined the K-A for Cys(Acm)(2,7)-h-alpha CGRP and found that the K-A (817 nM) was not significantly different from the EC50 (503 nM) for this drug in causing relaxation, indicating that Cys(Acm)(2,7)-h-alpha CGRP is a partial agonist. Because experimental conditions affect the actions of h-CGRP(8-37) and Cys(Acm)(2,7)-h-alpha CGRP, the conditions must be carefully controlled to reliably identify CGRP receptor subtypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1419-1426
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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