The effects of CGRP in vascular tissue - Classical vasodilation, shadowed effects and systemic dilemmas

Iben Sohn, Majid Sheykhzade, Lars Edvinsson, Anette Sams

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (SciVal)


Vascular tissue consists of endothelial cells, vasoactive smooth muscle cells and perivascular nerves. The perivascular sensory neuropeptide CGRP has demonstrated potent vasodilatory effects in any arterial vasculature examined so far, and a local protective CGRP-circuit of sensory nerve terminal CGRP release and smooth muscle cell CGRP action is evident. The significant vasodilatory effect has shadowed multiple other effects of CGRP in the vascular tissue and we therefore thoroughly review vascular actions of CGRP on endothelial cells, vascular smooth muscle cells and perivascular nerve terminals. The actions beyond vasodilation includes neuronal re-uptake and neuromodulation, angiogenic, proliferative and antiproliferative, pro- and anti-inflammatory actions which vary depending on the target cell and anatomical location. In addition to the classical perivascular nerve-smooth muscle CGRP circuit, we review existing evidence for a shadowed endothelial autocrine pathway for CGRP. Finally, we discuss the impact of local and systemic actions of CGRP in vascular regulation and protection from hypertensive and ischemic heart conditions with special focus on therapeutic CGRP agonists and antagonists.

Original languageEnglish
Article number173205
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug 15

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology


  • CGRP
  • Endothelial cells
  • Heart
  • Ischemic heart
  • Vascular effects
  • Vascular smooth muscle cells


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