How capsaicin is being used to help develop new migraine treatments

A lot of people suffer from sometimes debilitating migraines.

There’s no doubt migraines can sometimes be intense. That has scientists looking for new ways to target migraines and possibly treat them better in the future. One of the latest studies took a closer look at how to block the signaling of pain from Schwann cells, which are found outside of the brain and are actually part of the peripheral nervous system. 

As part of this latest research...

A team of scientists from New York University took mice, then modified the CGRP receptor in the Schwann cells of their facial area. With CGRP, the facial area of the mice was generally very sensitive in normal mice, but in those without the receptor, the CGRP did not cause migraine-like pain. In another experiment, they used capsaicin, which is naturally found in hot chili peppers. Capsaicin activates something called TRPV1, which then releases CGRP and normally causes pain. When the mice lacked the CGRP receptor in their Schwann cells, the capsaicin again didn’t cause the mice to have migraine-like pain. That seemingly helps to support the theory that the CGRP receptor in Schwann cells indeed plays an important part in migraine pain.

Scientists then used the Schwann cells of humans to see what happens within cells to signal pain.

All of the research helps give scientists a better idea of how migraine pain originates and potentially some new solutions for treating migraine pain in the future. While in this case capsaicin wasn’t a cure for migraines, it is potentially helping in the research to find a better cure in the future. It’s not the first time that capsaicin has been used in migraine research. Other scientists have looked at using capsaicin creams. Capsaicin is already used for the topical treatment of things like arthritis, sprains and even backaches.

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