Transcriptomic sex differences in sensory neuronal populations of mice

Jennifer Mecklenburg, Yi Zou, Andi Wangzhou, Dawn Garcia, Zhao Lai, Alexei V. Tumanov, Gregory Dussor, Theodore J. Price, Armen N. Akopian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


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 hindpaw 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 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15278
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Transcriptomic sex differences in sensory neuronal populations of mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this