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Cell Rep. 2019 May 21;27(8):2508-2523.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.04.096.

An Atlas of Vagal Sensory Neurons and Their Molecular Specialization.

Author information

1
Division of Molecular Neurobiology, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, 17177 Stockholm, Sweden.
2
Division of Molecular Neurobiology, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, 17177 Stockholm, Sweden; Ming Wai Lau Centre for Reparative Medicine, Stockholm node, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
3
Division of Molecular Neurobiology, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, 17177 Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address: patrik.ernfors@ki.se.

Abstract

Sensory functions of the vagus nerve are critical for conscious perceptions and for monitoring visceral functions in the cardio-pulmonary and gastrointestinal systems. Here, we present a comprehensive identification, classification, and validation of the neuron types in the neural crest (jugular) and placode (nodose) derived vagal ganglia by single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) transcriptomic analysis. Our results reveal major differences between neurons derived from different embryonic origins. Jugular neurons exhibit fundamental similarities to the somatosensory spinal neurons, including major types, such as C-low threshold mechanoreceptors (C-LTMRs), A-LTMRs, Aδ-nociceptors, and cold-, and mechano-heat C-nociceptors. In contrast, the nodose ganglion contains 18 distinct types dedicated to surveying the physiological state of the internal body. Our results reveal a vast diversity of vagal neuron types, including many previously unanticipated types, as well as proposed types that are consistent with chemoreceptors, nutrient detectors, baroreceptors, and stretch and volume mechanoreceptors of the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular systems.

KEYWORDS:

jugular ganglion; mechanoreceptor; nociceptor; nodose ganglion; sensory neurons; single cell RNA-sequencing; somatosensory; transcriptome; vagus nerve; viscerosensory

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