Calcitonin-gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a 37-amino-acid vasodilatory peptide, of which two isoforms, αCGRP and βCGRP, have been described. The use of C-terminal fragments of CGRP peptide, such as human αCGRP-(8–37), has led to the pharmacological subdivision of CGRP receptors into CGRP-1 [high potency for binding of human αCGRP-(8–37)] and CGRP-2 (lower potency) receptors. We have recently developed BIBN4096BS, the first non-peptide CGRP antagonist, which has sub-nanomolar affinity for primate CGRP receptors. The use of BIBN4096BS has led to the discovery of further functional CGRP receptor heterogeneity in rat tissues. To further exploit BIBN4096BS as a pharmacological tool, we used BIBN4096BS in pig left anterior descending coronary vessels and cerebral basilar arteries, and compared functional with molecular data, characterizing CGRP receptor components. Our data show that, apart from a subdivision into CGRP-1 and -2 receptors, BIBN4096BS reveals additional functional differences between the actions of αCGRP and βCGRP. However, evidence for CGRP receptor heterogeneity on a molecular level is scarce.

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