Distinct and common expression of receptors for inflammatory mediators in vagal nodose versus jugular capsaicin-sensitive/TRPV1-positive neurons detected by low input RNA sequencing

PLoS One. 2017 Oct 5;12(10):e0185985. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185985. eCollection 2017.


Capsaicin-sensitive sensory C-fibers derived from vagal ganglia innervate the visceral organs, and respond to inflammatory mediators and noxious stimuli. These neurons play an important role in maintenance of visceral homeostasis, and contribute to the symptoms of visceral inflammatory diseases. Vagal sensory neurons are located in two ganglia, the jugular ganglia (derived from the neural crest), and the nodose ganglia (from the epibranchial placodes). The functional difference, especially in response to immune mediators, between jugular and nodose neurons is not fully understood. In this study, we microscopically isolated murine nodose and jugular capsaicin-sensitive / Trpv1-expressing C-fiber neurons and performed transcriptome profiling using ultra-low input RNA sequencing. RNAseq detected genes with significantly differential expression in jugular and nodose neurons, which were mostly involved in neural functions. Transcriptional regulators, including Cited1, Hoxb5 and Prdm12 showed distinct expression patterns in the two C-fiber neuronal populations. Common and specific expression of immune receptor proteins was characterized in each neuronal type. The expression of immune receptors that have received little or no attention from vagal sensory biologists is highlighted including receptors for certain chemokines (CXCLs), interleukins (IL-4) and interferons (IFNα, IFNγ). Stimulation of immune receptors with their cognate ligands led to activation of the C-fibers in isolated functional assays.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Capsaicin / pharmacology*
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Nodose Ganglion / cytology
  • Nodose Ganglion / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA / methods*
  • TRPV Cation Channels / metabolism*
  • Vagus Nerve / cytology
  • Vagus Nerve / metabolism*


  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • TRPV Cation Channels
  • TRPV1 protein, mouse
  • Capsaicin
  • Calcium