Thy1.2 YFP-16 transgenic mouse labels a subset of large-diameter sensory neurons that lack TRPV1 expression

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Abstract

The Thy1.2 YFP-16 mouse expresses yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) in specific subsets of peripheral and central neurons. The original characterization of this model suggested that YFP was expressed in all sensory neurons, and this model has been subsequently used to study sensory nerve structure and function. Here, we have characterized the expression of YFP in the sensory ganglia (DRG, trigeminal and vagal) of the Thy1.2 YFP-16 mouse, using biochemical, functional and anatomical analyses. Despite previous reports, we found that YFP was only expressed in approximately half of DRG and trigeminal neurons and less than 10% of vagal neurons. YFP-expression was only found in medium and large-diameter neurons that expressed neurofilament but not TRPV1. YFP-expressing neurons failed to respond to selective agonists for TRPV1, P2X(2/3 and TRPM8 channels in Ca2+ imaging assays. Confocal analysis of glabrous skin, hairy skin of the back and ear and skeletal muscle indicated that YFP was expressed in some peripheral terminals with structures consistent with their presumed non-nociceptive nature. In summary, the Thy1.2 YFP-16 mouse expresses robust YFP expression in only a subset of sensory neurons. But this mouse model is not suitable for the study of nociceptive nerves or the function of such nerves in pain and neuropathies.

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Taylor-Clark, T. E., Wu, K. Y., Thompson, J. A., Yang, K., Bahia, P. K., & Ajmo, J. M. (2015). Thy1.2 YFP-16 transgenic mouse labels a subset of large-diameter sensory neurons that lack TRPV1 expression. PLoS ONE, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0119538

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