Sensory nerve terminal activity in severe hypertension as reflected by circulating calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and substance P
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In patients with severe hypertension and in age and sex matched controls the circulating levels of calcitonin gene-related peptide-like immunoreactivity (CGRP-LI) and substance P-LI were measured. Samples were taken before medication, after 2-4 weeks and 2-12 months of pharmacological treatment to normotension. In the control group CGRP-LI levels were significantly higher for females than for males. No such relation was seen for substance P-LI. There were no correlations between CGRP-LI, substance P-LI or blood pressure. In the untreated acute hypertensive group there was a significant correlation between circulating levels of CGRP-LI and both diastolic and systolic blood pressure. No such relationship was seen for substance P-LI. The plasma levels of substance P-LI were significantly elevated (2.8 +/- 4.0) compared to controls (1.3 +/- 1.3, pmol/l, mean +/- S.D., p < 0.01). The levels of CGRP-LI did not differ from the control group. After 2-4 weeks of treatment the blood pressure decreased significantly and the plasma levels of substance P-LI were normalized while the CGRP-LI still did not differ from that of controls. After 2-12 months of treatment the blood pressure was still normalized, and the plasma levels of CGRP-LI and substance P-LI were not different from the control group. In the present study there was a positive correlation in hypertensives between the circulating CGRP-LI levels and diastolic and systolic blood pressure and elevated levels of substance P-LI. This would implicate the existence of a dynamic control through which the sensory system may register and damp the pressure response.