Release of PACAP-38 in episodic cluster headache patients - An exploratory study

Bernadett Tuka, Nikoletta Szabó, Eszter Tóth, Zsigmond Tamás Kincses, Árpád Párdutz, Délia Szok, Tamás Körtési, Teréz Bagoly, Zsuzsanna Helyes, Lars Edvinsson, László Vécsei, János Tajti

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45 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Activation of the trigeminal-autonomic reflex, involving the trigeminal ganglion, the superior salivatory nucleus and the sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) is crucial in the pathophysiology of cluster headache (CH). Since pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide-38 (PACAP-38) is present both in the SPG and the trigeminal ganglion (TG) and its role in migraine has been described, our aim was to determine the plasma PACAP-38 levels in different phases of episodic CH (ECH). Peripheral cubital fossa blood samples were taken during the ictal and inter-bout periods of male ECH patients and from age-matched healthy controls (n = 9). Plasma PACAP-38-like immunoreactivity (LI) was measured with specific and sensitive radioimmunoassay. Findings: Significantly lower plasma PACAP-38-LI was detected in the inter-bout period of ECH patients than in healthy controls. However, PACAP-38 was significantly elevated in the plasma during CH attacks as compared to the inter-bout phase in the same subjects (n =5). Conclusions: This exploratory study suggests that PACAP-38 may be released during the attacks of ECH. Further patients and long-term follow-up are necessary to reveal its function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number69
JournalJournal of Headache and Pain
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Episodic cluster headache
  • Ictal phase
  • Inter-bout period
  • Plasma PACAP-38-LI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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    Tuka, B., Szabó, N., Tóth, E., Kincses, Z. T., Párdutz, Á., Szok, D., Körtési, T., Bagoly, T., Helyes, Z., Edvinsson, L., Vécsei, L., & Tajti, J. (2016). Release of PACAP-38 in episodic cluster headache patients - An exploratory study. Journal of Headache and Pain, 17(1), [69].