1. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is localized in perivascular sensory neurons and is a potent vasodilator. We investigated the utility of immunoblockade as an in vivo technique for probing the role of CGRP as an endogenous vasodilator.

2. The effects of an anti-CGRP monoclonal antibody (MAb; coded C4.19) and its Fab′ fragment on CGRP-induced changes in blood pressure and skin blood flow were studied in pentobarbitone-anaesthetized rats. Antidromic skin vasodilatation in the rat hind paw was measured by laser Doppler fluxmetry.

3. The dose—response relationship for the hypotensive effect of intravenous rat αCGRP (rαCGRP) was similarly shifted rightward by MAb C4.19 IgG (1 mg/rat; intravenously) and Fab′ fragment (2 mg/rat; intravenously). The C-terminal fragment of human αCGRP (hαCGRP8–37) also blocked the hypotensive effect of rαCGRP.

4. MAb C4.19 Fab′ fragment (2 mg/rat; intravenously) and hαCGRP8–37 (100 nmol/kg; intravenously), but not MAb C4.19 IgG (up to 3 mg/rat; intravenously) or normal mouse Fab′ fragment (2 mg/rat; intravenously), blocked the increased skin blood flow response to antidromic stimulation of the saphenous nerve.

5. The mean percentage changes in skin blood flow parameters due to MAb C4.19 Fab′ fragment were significantly different from those due to normal mouse Fab′ fragment (unpaired t-test; P < 0.05) but not from those due to hαCGRP8–37.

6. The results demonstrate the pharmacokinetic advantage of Fab′ fragment over IgG for immunoblockade studies in vivo and support the role of CGRP in mediating skin vasodilatation.

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