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Presentation Time: 12:20-12:40
Home University: UNC-Chapel Hill
Research Mentor: Kathleen Caron, Cell Biology and Physiology
Program: SMART
Research Title: Sex Differences in CGRP Response in LECs

Migraine, characterized by calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) upregulation in the cerebral circulation, impacts 15% of the global population, is the second leading cause of years lived with disability, and impacts women 3 times more frequently than men (1,2). Recent studies have demonstrated that CGRP antagonism reduces migraine severity (1). The CGRP receptor components are differentially regulated in a sex-driven manner but regulation of the CGRP receptor is relatively unstudied, especially in the recently re-discovered meningeal lymphatic network (3, 4). The lymphatic system functions to clear wastes from tissues back into the blood and CGRP signaling in the Lymphatic vessels induces lymphangiogenesis and reduced vessel permeability, mediating network density and drainage function (5). My objective is to determine how sex differences in lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) contribute to CGRP response. First, female and male cells will be treated with CGRP, and LEC barrier tightness will be assessed by vascular endothelial-Cadherin (VE-cadherin) arrangement using immunofluorescence microscopy. Additionally, transcriptional changes of CGRP receptor components following CGRP exposure will be determined using qPCR. Our preliminary data has demonstrated that CGRP increases male lymphatic endothelial cell (LEC) barrier tightness in vitro. The results of these experiments will offer insight into sex differences in lymphatic vessel response to CGRP, perhaps informing migraine treatment strategies.