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Papers of the Week

Papers: 5 Aug 2023 - 11 Aug 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Genetics, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Abdominal/Pelvic Pain

2023 Aug 03





Editor's Pick

DRG afferents that mediate physiologic and pathologic mechanosensation from the distal colon.


Wolfson RL, Abdelaziz A, Rankin G, Kushner S, Qi L, Mazor O, Choi S, Sharma N, Ginty DD


The properties of dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons that innervate the distal colon are poorly defined, hindering our understanding of their roles in normal physiology and gastrointestinal (GI) disease. Here, we report genetically defined subsets of colon-innervating DRG neurons with diverse morphologic and physiologic properties. Four colon-innervating DRG neuron populations are mechanosensitive and exhibit distinct force thresholds to colon distension. The highest threshold population, selectively labeled using Bmpr1b genetic tools, is necessary and sufficient for behavioral responses to high colon distension, which is partly mediated by the mechanosensory ion channel Piezo2. This Aδ-HTMR population mediates behavioral over-reactivity to colon distension caused by inflammation in a model of inflammatory bowel disease. Thus, like cutaneous DRG mechanoreceptor populations, colon-innervating mechanoreceptors exhibit distinct anatomical and physiological properties and tile force threshold space, and genetically defined colon-innervating HTMRs mediate pathophysiological responses to colon distension, revealing a target population for therapeutic intervention.