Molecular profiling of murine sensory neurons in the nodose and dorsal root ganglia labeled from the peritoneal cavity

Physiol Genomics. 2006 Feb 14;24(3):252-63. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00169.2005. Epub 2005 Nov 22.


Vagal afferent neurons are thought to convey primarily physiological information, whereas spinal afferents transmit noxious signals from the viscera to the central nervous system. To elucidate molecular identities for these different properties, we compared gene expression profiles of neurons located in nodose ganglia (NG) and dorsal root ganglia (DRG) in mice. Intraperitoneal administration of Alexa Fluor-488-conjugated cholera toxin B allowed enrichment for neurons projecting to the viscera. Fluorescent neurons in DRG (from T10 to T13) and NG were isolated using laser-capture microdissection. Gene expression profiles of these afferent neurons, obtained by microarray hybridization, were analyzed using multivariate spectral map analysis, significance analysis of microarrays (SAM) algorithm, and fold-difference filtering. A total of 1,996 genes were differentially expressed in DRG vs. NG, including 41 G protein-coupled receptors and 60 ion channels. Expression profiles obtained on laser-captured neurons were contrasted to those obtained on whole ganglia, demonstrating striking differences and the need for microdissection when studying visceral sensory neurons because of dilution of the signal by somatic sensory neurons. Furthermore, we provide a detailed catalog of all adrenergic and cholinergic, GABA, glutamate, serotonin, and dopamine receptors; voltage-gated potassium, sodium, and calcium channels; and transient receptor potential cation channels present in afferents projecting to the peritoneal cavity. Our genome-wide expression profiling data provide novel insight into molecular signatures that underlie both functional differences and similarities between NG and DRG sensory neurons. Moreover, these findings will offer novel insight into mode of action of pharmacological agents modulating visceral sensation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Ganglia, Sensory
  • Ganglia, Spinal / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Nodose Ganglion / metabolism*
  • Peritoneal Cavity / cytology
  • Peritoneal Cavity / microbiology*
  • Signal Transduction