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Papers of the Week

Papers: 31 Dec 2022 - 6 Jan 2023

2022 Dec 20


Editor's Pick

Spinal VGLUT3 lineage neurons drive visceral mechanical allodynia but not sensitized visceromotor reflexes.


Visceral pain is among the most prevalent and bothersome forms of chronic pain, but their transmission in the spinal cord is still poorly understood. Here, we conducted focal colorectal distention (fCRD) to drive both visceromotor responses (VMRs) and aversion. We first found that spinal CCK neurons were necessary for noxious fCRD to drive both VMRs and aversion under naive conditions. We next showed that spinal VGLUT3 neurons mediate visceral allodynia, whose ablation caused loss of aversion evoked by low-intensity fCRD in mice with gastrointestinal (GI) inflammation or spinal circuit disinhibition. Importantly, these neurons were dispensable for driving sensitized VMRs under both inflammatory and central disinhibition conditions. Anatomically, a subset of VGLUT3 neurons projected to parabrachial nuclei, whose photoactivation sufficiently generated aversion in mice with GI inflammation, without influencing VMRs. Our studies suggest the presence of different spinal substrates that transmit nociceptive versus affective dimensions of visceral sensory information.