Could this protein explain why migraine is more common in women?

For reasons that scientists do not fully understand, women are three times more likely to experience migraine headaches than men. Now, new research into the activity of a protein could start to explain why.

Research going back more than 30 years has confirmed that calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) plays a major role in migraine. However, this work has revealed little about the locations of the protein’s migraine activity in the body.

That was until researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas, who carried out a preclinical investigation in rats and mice, pinpointed where certain pain-related CGRP activity takes place in the body. They also found that this particular activity occurs only in females.

Read the full article.

Why Is Migraine More Common in Women? One Protein May Hold the Key

A new preclinical study from University of Texas at Dallas researchers may help explain why migraine is three times more common in women than men.

In research published online April 8 in the Journal of Neuroscience, a protein implicated in the development of migraine symptoms caused pain responses in female rodents, but not in males, when introduced into the meninges, the protective tissue layers surrounding the brain.

Most previous preclinical investigations of migraine and the protein, called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), used only male animals, leaving the question of neurobiological sex differences unanswered, said Dr. Greg Dussor, the corresponding author of the study and an associate professor of neuroscience in the UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

“This is the first study to show that CGRP might act differently between sexes,” said Dussor, Fellow, Eugene McDermott Professor. “It also shows that CGRP can have a pain-related effect in the meninges, which is something that has been questioned in the literature previously.”

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Women’s Pain is Different From Men’s—The Drugs Could be Too

From Wired:

“There’s a huge amount of suffering that’s happening that we could solve,” says Ted Price, professor of neuroscience at the University of Texas, Dallas, and an author of the Brain article. “As a field, it would be awesome to start having some success stories.”

Price and his colleagues emphasize that the finding needs further study. But it suggests that a new type of migraine drug that targets a neuropeptide known as CGRP might be broadly effective for chronic pain in women, he says. Women greatly outnumber men among migraine sufferers, and women made up about 85 percent of the participants in the Phase 3 clinical trials of the three anti-CGRP drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2018. Price wonders if the anti-CGRP drugs aren’t specific to migraines—but to women. His work with mice suggests that the drugs don’t work in males, but block pain in females. “CGRP is a key player in lots of forms of chronic pain in women, not just migraine,” he says.

Read the full article.

Why The Sexes Don’t Feel Pain The Same Way

From Nature:

After decades of assuming that pain processing is equivalent in all sexes, scientists are finding that different biological pathways can produce an ‘ouch!’.

It’s much harder to investigate these pain pathways in people, but clues are emerging. Neuropharmacologist Ted Price, at the University of Texas at Dallas, and his collaborators have found preliminary evidence, published this month6, of differences in how immune cells contribute to pain in people.

Read the full article.

Can Neuroscience Stop The Opioid Epidemic?

UT Dallas neuroscientists, Dr. Ted Price and Dr. Greg Dussor, discuss the role of neuroscience in solving the opioid epidemic. See the full article “Can Neuroscience Stop the Opioid Epidemic?”

Every morning as many as a third of Americans wake up to a familiar stabbing back pain, a throbbing headache or some other intrusive incarnation of chronic pain. Since the late 1990s, an increasing number of Americans have sought relief by taking opioids.

Yet opioids have a dangerous dark side: addiction, abuse, overdose. University of Texas at Dallas neuroscientists Ted Price and Greg Dussor believe they can find a better way of treating pain by studying how pain actually works.

Highlighted in UT Dallas Magazine

Pain research at UT Dallas was highlighted in the Spring 2018 edition of UT Dallas magazine. See the full article “Fresh Approaches”.

Three University of Texas at Dallas scientists—Drs. Ted Price BS’97, Greg Dussor, and Zach Campbell—are attacking this ever-present problem from varied angles, each with his own focus, background, and motivation for understanding it, as well as reducing and pre-empting it.

Lost in Translation: Without New Proteins, Chronic Pain Cannot Take Off

Pain sensitivity after an injury, such as damage to a nerve or an inflammatory insult, involves the synthesis of new proteins in pain neurons. This process is thought to play a role in the transition from acute to chronic pain, suggesting that blocking it may prevent chronic pain from developing in the first place. Now, a new paper reports a novel strategy to inhibit protein synthesis and stop pain in mice.

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Dr. Ted Price: Clarifying the Causes of Chronic Pain and Creating New Treatments

Dr. Theodore (Ted) Price is an associate professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas, Dallas. He is also a neuroscientist with and the founder of a startup company called Ted’s Brain Science Products which develops non-opioid pain management products. Ted received his B.S. degree in neuroscience from the University of Texas, Dallas and his PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio. Ted completed postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio and at McGill University. He served on the faculty at the University of Arizona College of Medicine before joining the faculty at UT, Dallas. Ted has received numerous honors and award for his work, including the American Pain Society John C. Liebeskind Early Career Scholar Award, the Louis J. Kettel Faculty Mentor Award from the Department of Surgery, the University of Texas at Dallas Buhrmester Rising Star Award, the Vernon and Virginia Furrow Award for Graduate Education from the University of Arizona, and the Patrick D. Wall Young Investigator Award from the International Association for the Study of Pain. Ted joined us in an interview to share stories from his life and science.

Listen here.