Members of Lai Lab Co-Authors of Scientific Reports Paper

“Transcriptomic Sex Differences in Sensory Neuronal Populations of Mice”

Abstract

Many chronic pain conditions show sex differences in their epidemiology. This could be attributed to sex-dependent differential expression of genes (DEGs) involved in nociceptive pathways, including sensory neurons. This study aimed to identify sex-dependent DEGs in estrous female versus male sensory neurons, which were prepared by using different approaches and ganglion types. RNA-seq on non-purified sensory neuronal preparations, such as whole dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and hind paw tissues, revealed only a few sex-dependent DEGs. Sensory neuron purification increased numbers of sex-dependent DEGs. These DEG sets were substantially influenced by preparation approaches and ganglion types [DRG vs trigeminal ganglia (TG)]. Percoll-gradient enriched DRG and TG neuronal fractions produced distinct sex-dependent DEG groups. We next isolated a subset of sensory neurons by sorting DRG neurons back-labeled from paw and thigh muscle. These neurons have a unique sex-dependent DEG set, yet there is a similarity in biological processes linked to these different groups of sex-dependent DEGs. Female-predominant DEGs in sensory neurons relate to inflammatory, synaptic transmission and extracellular matrix reorganization processes that could exacerbate neuro-inflammation severity, especially in TG. Male-selective DEGs were linked to oxidative phosphorylation and protein/molecule metabolism and production. Our findings catalog preparation-dependent sex differences in neuronal gene expressions in sensory ganglia.

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