Cortistatin (CST) is an endogenous neuropeptide bearing strong structural and functional analogies with somatostatin (SST). Gene expression of CST and its putative receptor MrgX2 in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons in man suggests the involvement of CST in pain transmission. In this study we have investigated the effects of CST and SST on calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP, the main neuropeptide mediator of pain transmission) from primary cultures of rat trigeminal neurons. Moreover, here for the first time we used organotypic cultures of rat brainstem to investigate the release of CGRP form nucleus caudalis as a model of pre-synaptic peptide release. In both experimental paradigm CGRP release was evaluated in the presence of CST or SST, with or without the addition of known secretagogues (namely high KCl concentrations, veratridine and capsaicin). We found that CST and SST do not modify basal CGRP secretion from trigeminal neurons, but both peptides were able to inhibit in a concentration-dependent manner the release of CGRP stimulated by KCl, veratridine or capsaicin. Likewise, in brainstem organotypic cultures CST and SST did not modify baseline CGRP secretion. Of the secretagogues used, capsaicin proved to be most effective compared to KCl and veratridine (8-fold vs 2-fold increase, respectively). Thereafter, CST and SST were tested on capsaicin-stimulated CGPR release only. Under these conditions, CST but not SST was able to inhibit in a significant manner pre-synaptic CGRP release from the brainstem, providing further evidence in support of a role for CST in pain transmission.
- Calcitonin gene-related peptide
- Rat brainstem
- Rat trigeminal neuron
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience