Identification of cytokine-specific sensory neural signals by decoding murine vagus nerve activity
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
© 2018 National Academy of Sciences. All Rights Reserved. The nervous system maintains physiological homeostasis through reflex pathways that modulate organ function. This process begins when changes in the internal milieu (e.g., blood pressure, temperature, or pH) activate visceral sensory neurons that transmit action potentials along the vagus nerve to the brainstem. IL-1β and TNF, inflammatory cytokines produced by immune cells during infection and injury, and other inflammatory mediators have been implicated in activating sensory action potentials in the vagus nerve. However, it remains unclear whether neural responses encode cytokine-specific information. Here we develop methods to isolate and decode specific neural signals to discriminate between two different cytokines. Nerve impulses recorded from the vagus nerve of mice exposed to IL-1β and TNF were sorted into groups based on their shape and amplitude, and their respective firing rates were computed. This revealed sensory neural groups responding specifically to TNF and IL-1β in a dose-dependent manner. These cytokine-mediated responses were subsequently decoded using a Naive Bayes algorithm that discriminated between no exposure and exposures to IL-1β and TNF (mean successful identification rate 82.9 ± 17.8%, chance level 33%). Recordings obtained in IL-1 receptor-KO mice were devoid of IL-1β–related signals but retained their responses to TNF. Genetic ablation of TRPV1 neurons attenuated the vagus neural signals mediated by IL-1β, and distal lidocaine nerve block attenuated all vagus neural signals recorded. The results obtained in this study using the methodological framework suggest that cytokine-specific information is present in sensory neural signals within the vagus nerve.
E4843 - E4852
Faculty; SOM Student; Northwell Researcher
School of Medicine; Northwell Health