New migraine medications could endanger patients with high blood pressure

November 26, 2019

The neuropeptide αCGRP (α calcitonin gene-related peptide) works in two different ways. It leads to inflammation and dilates the blood vessels right at the release point of the nerve cells, for example in the meninges, which can trigger migraine attacks. However, it has a completely different effect on the heart, as has now been discovered by a team of researchers at the University of Zurich (UZH).

Bad for the meninges, good for the heart

As demonstrated by the scientists through studies on mice, αCGRP is also released from active skeletal muscles. It is transported via the blood from the muscle to the heart where it inhibits the pathological heart remodeling caused by chronic high blood pressure. "It is exactly the same for humans as it is for mice," says study leader Johannes Vogel, professor at the UZH Institute of Veterinary Physiology. "Physical activity and sport increase the blood plasma levels of αCGRP, which has a positive effect on the heart in patients with high blood pressure."

Treatment option for certain patients with high blood pressure

The work carried out by the researchers involved comparing normal mice with others having chronic high blood pressure, which were either sedentary or repeatedly and voluntarily ran in a running wheel. The study revealed that having normal concentrations of αCGRP in the blood plasma is vital and that the peptide is crucial for the positive effects of physical activity on the heart. αCGRP also provides the heart with extra protection, regardless of its antihypertensive properties in high doses. "In the future, substances that activate the release of αCGRP or mimic its action could be used in hypertensive patients who can only be physically active to a very limited extent or in whom antihypertensive medications have little or no effect," explains Johannes Vogel.

Caution required with migraine medications and chronic high blood pressure

The research work also brought another finding to light - long-term administration of αCGRP blockers in mice with chronic high blood pressure resulted in life-threatening cardiac dysfunction. Medications of this kind, which take a targeted approach to blocking the neuropeptide, have recently been approved for migraine prophylaxis. As the neuropeptide αCGRP in species from zebrafish to humans is very similar, it must be part of a key biological mechanism that works in the same way in different organisms. According to cardiovascular specialist Vogel, the results are therefore also relevant to humans: "αCGRP blockers should only be used for migraine prevention with the proviso that patients' blood pressure is monitored regularly. Chronic high blood pressure should be added to the list of contraindications for the long-term use of αCGRP blockers."
-end-


University of Zurich

Related Blood Pressure Articles from Brightsurf:

Children who take steroids at increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, blood clots
Children who take oral steroids to treat asthma or autoimmune diseases have an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and blood clots, according to Rutgers researchers.

High blood pressure treatment linked to less risk for drop in blood pressure upon standing
Treatment to lower blood pressure did not increase and may decrease the risk of extreme drops in blood pressure upon standing from a sitting position.

Changes in blood pressure control over 2 decades among US adults with high blood pressure
National survey data were used to examine how blood pressure control changed overall among U.S. adults with high blood pressure between 1999-2000 and 2017-2018 and by age, race, insurance type and access to health care.

Transient increase in blood pressure promotes some blood vessel growth
Blood vessels are the body's transportation system, carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells and whisking away waste.

Effect of reducing blood pressure medications on blood pressure control in older adults
Whether the amount of blood pressure medications taken by older adults could be reduced safely and without a significant change in short-term blood pressure control was the objective of this randomized clinical trial that included 534 adults 80 and older.

Brain blood flow sensor discovery could aid treatments for high blood pressure & dementia
A study led by researchers at UCL has discovered the mechanism that allows the brain to monitor its own blood supply, a finding in rats which may help to find new treatments for human conditions including hypertension (high blood pressure) and dementia.

Here's something that will raise your blood pressure
The apelin receptor (APJ) has been presumed to play an important role in the contraction of blood vessels involved in blood pressure regulation.

New strategy for treating high blood pressure
The key to treating blood pressure might lie in people who are 'resistant' to developing high blood pressure even when they eat high salt diets, shows new research published today in Experimental Physiology.

Arm cuff blood pressure measurements may fall short for predicting heart disease risk in some people with resistant high blood pressure
A measurement of central blood pressure in people with difficult-to-treat high blood pressure could help reduce risk of heart disease better than traditional arm cuff readings for some patients, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Hypertension 2019 Scientific Sessions.

Heating pads may lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure when lying down
In people with supine hypertension due to autonomic failure, a condition that increases blood pressure when lying down, overnight heat therapy significantly decreased systolic blood pressure compared to a placebo.

Read More: Blood Pressure News and Blood Pressure Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.