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Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 Apr 2023 - 21 Apr 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology, Sex Differences

Abdominal/Pelvic Pain, Inflammation/Inflammatory

2023 Apr 15

Nat Commun




Editor's Pick

Piezo2 regulates colonic mechanical sensitivity in a sex specific manner in mice.


Madar J, Tiwari N, Smith C, Sharma D, Shen S, Elmahdi A, Qiao LY


The mechanosensitive ion channel Piezo2 in mucosa and primary afferents transduces colonic mechanical sensation. Here we show that chemogenetic activation or nociceptor-targeted deletion of Piezo2 is sufficient to regulate colonic mechanical sensitivity in a sex dependent manner. Clozapine N-oxide-induced activation of Piezo2;hM3Dq-expressing sensory neurons evokes colonic hypersensitivity in male mice, and causes dyspnea in female mice likely due to effects on lung sensory neurons. Activation of Piezo2-expressing colonic afferent neurons also induces colonic hypersensitivity in male but not female mice. Piezo2 levels in nociceptive neurons are higher in female than in male mice. We also show that Piezo2 conditional deletion from nociceptive neurons increases body weight growth, slows colonic transits, and reduces colonic mechanosensing in female but not male mice. Piezo2 deletion blocks colonic hypersensitivity in male but not female mice. These results suggest that Piezo2 in nociceptive neurons mediates innocuous colonic mechanosensing in female mice and painful sensation in male mice, suggesting a sexual dimorphism of Piezo2 function in the colonic sensory system.