Expression and distribution patterns of Mas-related gene receptor subtypes A-H in the mouse intestine: inflammation-induced changes

Histochem Cell Biol. 2013 May;139(5):639-58. doi: 10.1007/s00418-013-1086-9. Epub 2013 Mar 17.


Mas-related gene (Mrg) receptors constitute a subfamily of G protein-coupled receptors that are implicated in nociception, and are as such considered potential targets for pain therapies. Furthermore, some Mrgs have been suggested to play roles in the regulation of inflammatory responses to non-immunological activation of mast cells and in mast cell-neuron communication. Except for MrgD, E and F, whose changed expression has been revealed during inflammation in the mouse intestine in our earlier studies, information concerning the remaining cloned mouse Mrg subtypes in the gastrointestinal tract during (patho) physiological conditions is lacking. Therefore, the present study aimed at identifying the presence and putative function of these remaining cloned Mrg subtypes (n = 19) in the (inflamed) mouse intestine. Using reverse transcriptase-PCR, quantitative-PCR and multiple immunofluorescence staining with commercial and newly custom-developed antibodies, we compared the ileum and the related dorsal root ganglia (DRG) of non-inflamed mice with those of two models of intestinal inflammation, i.e., intestinal schistosomiasis and 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid-induced ileitis. In the non-inflamed ileum and DRG, the majority of the Mrg subtypes examined were sparsely expressed, showing a neuron-specific expression pattern. However, significant changes in the expression patterns of multiple Mrg subtypes were observed in the inflamed ileum; for instance, MrgA4, MrgB2and MrgB8 were expressed in a clearly increased number of enteric sensory neurons and in nerve fibers in the lamina propria, while de novo expression of MrgB10 was observed in enteric sensory neurons and in newly recruited mucosal mast cells (MMCs). The MrgB10 expressing MMCs were found to be in close contact with nerve fibers in the lamina propria. This is the first report on the expression of all cloned Mrg receptor subtypes in the (inflamed) mouse intestine. The observed changes in the expression and cellular localization of the Mrg subtypes suggest that these receptors are involved in the mediation of primary afferent responses, mast cell responses, and in neuroimmune communication during intestinal inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Intestines / pathology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / analysis
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled