Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Pain and itch processing by subpopulations of molecularly diverse spinal and trigeminal projection neurons.


A remarkable molecular and functional heterogeneity of the primary sensory neurons and dorsal horn interneurons transmits pain- and or itch-relevant information, but the molecular signature of the projection neurons that convey the messages to the brain is unclear. Here, using retro-TRAP (translating ribosome affinity purification) and RNA sequencing, we reveal extensive molecular diversity of spino- and trigeminoparabrachial projection neurons. Among the many genes identified, we highlight distinct subsets of Cck+ -, Nptx2+ -, Nmb+ -, and Crh+ -expressing projection neurons. By combining in situ hybridization of retrogradely labeled neurons with Fos-based assays, we also demonstrate significant functional heterogeneity, including both convergence and segregation of pain- and itch-provoking inputs into molecularly diverse subsets of NK1R- and non-NK1R-expressing projection neurons.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View