The use of Cre-loxP technology for conditional mutagenesis in pain pathways had been restricted by the unavailability of mice expressing Cre recombinase selectively in functionally distinct components of the nociceptive system. Here we describe the generation of transgenic mouse lines which express Cre recombinase selectively in sensory ganglia using promoter elements of the Na(v)1.8 gene (Scn10a). Cre-mediated recombination was greatly evident in all nociceptive and thermoreceptive neurons of the dorsal root ganglia and trigeminal ganglia, but only in a small proportion of proprioceptive neurons. Cre-mediated recombination was not detectable in the brain, spinal cord, or any nonneural tissues and began perinatally after invasion of primary afferents into the developing spinal cord. Thus, these mice enable selective deletion of genes in subsets of sensory neurons and offer a wide scope for studying potential functions of genes in pain perception, independent of secondary effects arising from developmental defects or global gene ablation.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.