, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 193–203 | Cite as

Is calcitonin gene-related peptide a modulator of menopausal vasomotor symptoms?

  • Maria Alice Oliveira
  • William Gustavo Lima
  • Dante Alighieri Schettini
  • Cristiane Queixa Tilelli
  • Valéria Ernestânia ChavesEmail author
Mini Review



Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a neuropeptide widely distributed in the central and peripheral nervous systems, which is known as a potent vasodilator. Postmenopausal women who experience hot flushes have high levels of plasma CGRP, suggesting its involvement in menopausal vasomotor symptoms.


In this review, we describe the biochemical aspects of CGRP and its effects associated with deficiencies of sexual hormones on skin temperature, vasodilatation, and sweating as well as the possible peripheral and central mechanisms involved in these events.


Several studies have shown that the effects of CGRP on increasing skin temperature and inducing vasodilatation are potentiated by a deficiency of sex hormones, a common condition of postmenopausal women. Additionally, the medial preoptic area of the hypothalamus, involved in thermoregulation, contains over 25-fold more CGRP-immunoreactive cells in female rodents compared with male rodents, reinforcing the role of female sex hormones on the action of CGRP. Some studies suggest that ovarian hormone deficiency decreases circulating endogenous CGRP, inducing an upregulation of CGRP receptors. Consequently, the high CGRP receptor density, especially in blood vessels, amplifies the stimulatory effects of this neuropeptide to raise skin temperature in postmenopausal women during hot flushes.


The duration of the perception of each hot flush in a woman is brief, while local reddening after intradermal administration of α-CGRP persists for 1 to 6 h. This contrast remains unclear.


Calcitonin gene-related peptide Hot flush Thermoregulation Menopause 







calcitonin gene-related peptide;


calcitonin receptor-like receptor;


cAMP response element-binding;


Calcitonin receptor;


gonadotropin-releasing hormone;


medical subject heading;


preoptic area;


hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus;


receptor activity-modifying proteins;



The authors would like to thank Renato Helios Migliorini (in memoriam) for being an exemplary scientist and professor.


This work was supported by the Federal University of São João del-Rei. W.G.L. received a fellowship from the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG).

Author contributions

All authors contributed to the development, analysis, and drafting of this article.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Alice Oliveira
    • 1
  • William Gustavo Lima
    • 1
  • Dante Alighieri Schettini
    • 1
  • Cristiane Queixa Tilelli
    • 1
  • Valéria Ernestânia Chaves
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of PhysiologyFederal University of São João del-ReiDivinópolisBrazil

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