visceral afferents


Summary: The sensory fibers innervating the viscera.

Top Publications

  1. Li J, McRoberts J, Nie J, Ennes H, Mayer E. Electrophysiological characterization of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors in rat dorsal root ganglia neurons. Pain. 2004;109:443-52 pubmed
    ..These results demonstrate that functional NMDARs expressed by DRG neurons innervating both somatic and visceral tissues of adult rats are composed predominantly of NR2B subunits. ..
  2. Christianson J, Bielefeldt K, Altier C, Cenac N, Davis B, Gebhart G, et al. Development, plasticity and modulation of visceral afferents. Brain Res Rev. 2009;60:171-86 pubmed publisher
    ..b>Visceral afferents also play a central role in tissue homeostasis...
  3. Bailey T, Hermes S, Andresen M, Aicher S. Cranial visceral afferent pathways through the nucleus of the solitary tract to caudal ventrolateral medulla or paraventricular hypothalamus: target-specific synaptic reliability and convergence patterns. J Neurosci. 2006;26:11893-902 pubmed
    Cranial visceral afferents activate central pathways that mediate systemic homeostatic processes...
  4. Steinert R, Beglinger C. Nutrient sensing in the gut: interactions between chemosensory cells, visceral afferents and the secretion of satiation peptides. Physiol Behav. 2011;105:62-70 pubmed publisher
  5. Peters J, McDougall S, Kellett D, Jordan D, Llewellyn Smith I, Andresen M. Oxytocin enhances cranial visceral afferent synaptic transmission to the solitary tract nucleus. J Neurosci. 2008;28:11731-40 pubmed publisher
    Cranial visceral afferents travel via the solitary tract (ST) to contact neurons within the ST nucleus (NTS) and activate homeostatic reflexes...
  6. Cervero F, Laird J. Understanding the signaling and transmission of visceral nociceptive events. J Neurobiol. 2004;61:45-54 pubmed
    ..This article reviews current evidence on the mechanisms of activation and sensitization of visceral nociceptive afferents and on their role in the triggering and maintenance of clinically relevant visceral pain states. ..
  7. Saper C. The central autonomic nervous system: conscious visceral perception and autonomic pattern generation. Annu Rev Neurosci. 2002;25:433-69 pubmed
    ..These pattern generators are located at multiple levels of the central nervous system, and they can be combined in temporal and spatial patterns to subserve a wide range of behavioral needs. ..
  8. Yoshioka M, Okada T, Inoue K, Kawai Y. Pattern differentiation of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs on distinct neuronal types in the rat caudal nucleus of the tractus solitarius. Neurosci Res. 2006;55:300-15 pubmed
    ..These results indicate that differential synaptic input patterns were developmentally established in distinct small and large neurons. ..
  9. Delvaux M. Role of visceral sensitivity in the pathophysiology of irritable bowel syndrome. Gut. 2002;51 Suppl 1:i67-71 pubmed
    ..The advances made in understanding visceral hypersensitivity in patients with IBS are reviewed: the factors that influence abdominal distension are defined and different therapeutic perspectives are examined. ..

More Information


  1. Doyle M, Bailey T, Jin Y, Andresen M. Vanilloid receptors presynaptically modulate cranial visceral afferent synaptic transmission in nucleus tractus solitarius. J Neurosci. 2002;22:8222-9 pubmed
    Although the central terminals of cranial visceral afferents express vanilloid receptor 1 (VR1), little is known about their functional properties at this first synapse within the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS)...
  2. Zhang X, Jiang C, Tan Z, Fogel R. Vagal motor neurons in rats respond to noxious and physiological gastrointestinal distention differentially. Eur J Neurosci. 2002;16:2027-38 pubmed
    ..These results suggest that different reflexes are present between physiological distention and noxious stimulation of gastrointestinal tract. ..
  3. Barbara G, Wang B, Stanghellini V, De Giorgio R, Cremon C, Di Nardo G, et al. Mast cell-dependent excitation of visceral-nociceptive sensory neurons in irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterology. 2007;132:26-37 pubmed
    ..05 and 74.5%; P < .05; respectively). Mucosal mast cell mediators from IBS patients excite rat nociceptive visceral sensory nerves. These results provide new insights into the mechanism underlying visceral hypersensitivity in IBS. ..
  4. Okada T, Yoshioka M, Inoue K, Kawai Y. Local axonal arborization patterns of distinct neuronal types in the caudal nucleus of the tractus solitarius. Brain Res. 2006;1083:134-44 pubmed
    ..It was suggested that small cNTS neurons contribute specifically to an integration of input information generated in the local circuits, while large neurons convey the integrated information to other autonomic brain regions. ..
  5. Craig A. How do you feel? Interoception: the sense of the physiological condition of the body. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2002;3:655-66 pubmed
    ..This system constitutes a representation of 'the material me', and might provide a foundation for subjective feelings, emotion and self-awareness. ..
  6. Blackshaw L, Page A, Partosoedarso E. Acute effects of capsaicin on gastrointestinal vagal afferents. Neuroscience. 2000;96:407-16 pubmed
    ..Acute desensitization may be induced with or without a response. ..
  7. Bueno L, Fioramonti J, Garcia Villar R. Pathobiology of visceral pain: molecular mechanisms and therapeutic implications. III. Visceral afferent pathways: a source of new therapeutic targets for abdominal pain. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2000;278:G670-6 pubmed
    ..This themes article addresses both physiological and preclinical issues of interest for the selection of active new drugs in regard to the clinical pharmacology of visceral pain...
  8. Berthoud H, Neuhuber W. Functional and chemical anatomy of the afferent vagal system. Auton Neurosci. 2000;85:1-17 pubmed
    ..Furthermore, these functions are in line with a general defensive character ascribed to the vagal afferent, paraventricular system in lower vertebrates. ..
  9. Zhou E, Liu H, Wu H, Shi Y, Wang X, Tan L, et al. Suspended moxibustion relieves chronic visceral hyperalgesia via serotonin pathway in the colon. Neurosci Lett. 2009;451:144-7 pubmed publisher
    ..Suspended moxibustion increased the pain threshold and restored normal sensitivity by reducing 5-hydroxytryptamine concentrations in the colon of chronic visceral hypersensitivity rats. ..
  10. Kondo T, Obata K, Miyoshi K, Sakurai J, Tanaka J, Miwa H, et al. Transient receptor potential A1 mediates gastric distention-induced visceral pain in rats. Gut. 2009;58:1342-52 pubmed publisher
    ..Our findings point to the potential blockade of TRPA1 in primary afferents as a new therapeutic target for the reduction of visceral hypersensitivity. ..
  11. Tache Y, Martinez V, Wang L, Million M. CRF1 receptor signaling pathways are involved in stress-related alterations of colonic function and viscerosensitivity: implications for irritable bowel syndrome. Br J Pharmacol. 2004;141:1321-30 pubmed
    ..Targeting CRF(1)-dependent pathways may have potential benefit against stress or anxiety-/depression-related functional bowel disorders. ..
  12. Winston J, Xu G, Sarna S. Adrenergic stimulation mediates visceral hypersensitivity to colorectal distension following heterotypic chronic stress. Gastroenterology. 2010;138:294-304.e3 pubmed publisher
  13. Lu C, Pasricha P, Hsieh J, Lu R, Lai C, Wu L, et al. Changes of the neuropeptides content and gene expression in spinal cord and dorsal root ganglion after noxious colorectal distension. Regul Pept. 2005;131:66-73 pubmed
    ..In the absence of visceral inflammation, the aforementioned neuropeptides are important mediators in the processing of visceral pain/hypersensitivity. ..
  14. Owyang C, Logsdon C. New insights into neurohormonal regulation of pancreatic secretion. Gastroenterology. 2004;127:957-69 pubmed
    ..Important physiologically, these findings not only explain discrepancies in previous in vivo vs. in vitro studies, but they revolutionize our current concept of the mechanism of CCK on pancreatic exocrine secretion. ..
  15. Zamuraev I, Khonny O. [Dynamics of terminal plaque structure during changes in the impulse activity of sensory endings in the process of their regeneration]. Morfologiia. 2002;121:58-62 pubmed
    ..The data obtained suggest that terminal plates do not seem to participate in the generation of bioelectric activity, but rather appear to be the growth cones of non-myelinated terminal and thus are involved in repair processes. ..
  16. Brumovsky P, Gebhart G. Visceral organ cross-sensitization - an integrated perspective. Auton Neurosci. 2010;153:106-15 pubmed publisher
    ..We briefly summarize behavioral, morphological and physiological support of and focus on potential mechanisms underlying cross-organ sensitization. ..
  17. Tanaka J, Miyakubo H, Kawakami A, Hayashi Y, Nomura M. Involvement of NMDA receptor mechanisms in the modulation of serotonin release in the lateral parabrachial nucleus in the rat. Brain Res Bull. 2006;71:311-5 pubmed
    ..These results indicate the participation of NMDA receptors in the control of 5-HT release in the LPBN area. ..
  18. Stocker S, Toney G. Vagal afferent input alters the discharge of osmotic and ANG II-responsive median preoptic neurons projecting to the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus. Brain Res. 2007;1131:118-28 pubmed
  19. Banach T, Zurowski D, Gil K, Krygowska Wajs A, Marszałek A, Thor P. Peripheral mechanisms of intestinal dysmotility in rats with salsolinol induced experimental Parkinson's disease. J Physiol Pharmacol. 2006;57:291-300 pubmed
    ..05). The results of our study may suggest the direct effect of salsolinol on both ICC and neuronal pathways of gastro-duodenal reflexes. ..
  20. Dunckley P, Aziz Q, Wise R, Brooks J, Tracey I, Chang L. Attentional modulation of visceral and somatic pain. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2007;19:569-77 pubmed
    ..These results suggest that pain intensity perception during attentional modulation is reflected in the primary somatosensory cortex (visceral pain) and aIns cortex activity (somatic pain). ..
  21. Zhou W, Fu L, Tjen A Looi S, Guo Z, Longhurst J. Role of glutamate in a visceral sympathoexcitatory reflex in rostral ventrolateral medulla of cats. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2006;291:H1309-18 pubmed
    ..Stimulation of visceral afferents activated glutamatergic neurons in the rVLM, as noted by double-labeling with c-Fos and the cellular ..
  22. Truong H, McGinnis L, Dindo L, Honda C, Giesler G. Identification of dorsal root ganglion neurons that innervate the common bile duct of rats. Exp Brain Res. 2004;155:477-84 pubmed
    ..These results indicate that a large number of primarily small DRG cells, located bilaterally at many segmental levels, provide a rich innervation of the common bile duct. ..
  23. Harrison T, Hoover D, King M. Distinct regional distributions of NK1 and NK3 neurokinin receptor immunoreactivity in rat brainstem gustatory centers. Brain Res Bull. 2004;63:7-17 pubmed
    ..These findings suggest that distinct tachykinin ligand/neurokinin receptor combinations may be important in local processing of information within brainstem gustatory centers. ..
  24. Ezure K, Tanaka I, Saito Y, Otake K. Axonal projections of pulmonary slowly adapting receptor relay neurons in the rat. J Comp Neurol. 2002;446:81-94 pubmed
    ..e., to the area of RAR-cells. These results show anatomic substrates for the connections implicated in the P-cell inhibition of RAR-cells as well as the SAR-induced respiratory reflexes. ..
  25. Read N. Food and hypersensitivity in functional dyspepsia. Gut. 2002;51 Suppl 1:i50-3 pubmed
    ..It is only when that situation is understood and acknowledged that the patient can begin to get better. ..
  26. Myers B, Dittmeyer K, Greenwood Van Meerveld B. Involvement of amygdaloid corticosterone in altered visceral and somatic sensation. Behav Brain Res. 2007;181:163-7 pubmed
    ..These findings suggest that modulation of the amygdala with CORT results in a generalized decrease in sensory thresholds via descending neuronal pathways. ..
  27. Dubayle D, Serviere J, Menetrey D. The effects of viscero-somatic interactions on thalamic mast cell recruitment in cystitic rats. J Neuroimmunol. 2007;190:18-27 pubmed
    ..Present data suggest that TMCs may be involved in thalamic sensory processes, including some aspects of visceral pain and abnormal visceral/somatic interactions. ..
  28. Ji Y, Murphy A, Traub R. Estrogen modulation of morphine analgesia of visceral pain in female rats is supraspinally and peripherally mediated. J Pain. 2007;8:494-502 pubmed
  29. Powley T, Phillips R. Vagal intramuscular array afferents form complexes with interstitial cells of Cajal in gastrointestinal smooth muscle: analogues of muscle spindle organs?. Neuroscience. 2011;186:188-200 pubmed publisher
    ..For electrophysiological assessments of IMA functions, experiments will need protocols that preserve both the complex architecture and the dynamic operations of IMA-ICC complexes. ..
  30. Greenwood Van Meerveld B, Gibson M, Johnson A, Venkova K, Sutkowski Markmann D. NK1 receptor-mediated mechanisms regulate colonic hypersensitivity in the guinea pig. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003;74:1005-13 pubmed
  31. Cui R, Li X, Appleyard S. Ghrelin inhibits visceral afferent activation of catecholamine neurons in the solitary tract nucleus. J Neurosci. 2011;31:3484-92 pubmed publisher
    ..regions involved in the regulation of appetite, are strongly and directly activated by solitary tract (ST) visceral afferents. Ghrelin, a potent orexigenic peptide released from the stomach, is proposed to act in part through ..
  32. Ravnefjord A, Pettersson M, Rehnström E, Martinez V. Acute colonic ischaemia in rats results in long-term structural changes without alterations of colonic sensitivity. Int J Exp Pathol. 2008;89:476-89 pubmed publisher
    ..Considering the important pathophysiological functions of mast cells, the observed mast cell infiltration may be involved in ischaemia-induced functional changes yet to be characterized. ..
  33. Pribisko A, Perl E. Use of a near-infrared diode laser to activate mouse cutaneous nociceptors in vitro. J Neurosci Methods. 2011;194:235-41 pubmed publisher
    ..It is effective for defining subpopulations of primary afferent fibers and holds promise as a tool for gauging modification of C-fiber activity. ..
  34. Matott M, Ruyle B, Hasser E, Kline D. Excitatory amino acid transporters tonically restrain nTS synaptic and neuronal activity to modulate cardiorespiratory function. J Neurophysiol. 2016;115:1691-702 pubmed publisher
    The nucleus tractus solitarii (nTS) is the initial central termination site for visceral afferents and is important for modulation and integration of multiple reflexes including cardiorespiratory reflexes...
  35. Camilleri M. Serotonergic modulation of visceral sensation: lower gut. Gut. 2002;51 Suppl 1:i81-6 pubmed
    ..They offer promise for the development of novel therapies for the treatment and control of irritable bowel syndrome. ..
  36. Sarnelli G, Vandenberghe J, Tack J. Visceral hypersensitivity in functional disorders of the upper gastrointestinal tract. Dig Liver Dis. 2004;36:371-6 pubmed
    ..In this context, the availability of new agonists/antagonists to neurotransmitters offers a new exciting tool for the treatment of functional disorders of the upper gastrointestinal tract. ..
  37. Danzer M, Samberger C, Schicho R, Lippe I, Holzer P. Immunocytochemical characterization of rat brainstem neurons with vagal afferent input from the stomach challenged by acid or ammonia. Eur J Neurosci. 2004;19:85-92 pubmed
  38. Zhou Q, Price D, Caudle R, Verne G. Visceral and somatic hypersensitivity in TNBS-induced colitis in rats. Dig Dis Sci. 2008;53:429-35 pubmed
    ..TNBS colitis is associated with visceral and somatic hypersensitivity in areas of somatotopic overlap. This model of colitis should allow further investigation into the mechanisms of visceral and somatic hypersensitivity...
  39. Pickering A, Paton J. A decerebrate, artificially-perfused in situ preparation of rat: utility for the study of autonomic and nociceptive processing. J Neurosci Methods. 2006;155:260-71 pubmed
    ..The decerebrate, artificially-perfused rat (DAPR) provides a powerful methodology with which to study peripheral and central control of the autonomic nervous system with many of the benefits of an in vitro environment. ..
  40. Sikes R, Vogt L, Vogt B. Distribution and properties of visceral nociceptive neurons in rabbit cingulate cortex. Pain. 2008;135:160-74 pubmed
  41. Azpiroz F. Hypersensitivity in functional gastrointestinal disorders. Gut. 2002;51 Suppl 1:i25-8 pubmed
    ..Altered reflex activity and altered conscious perception of gastrointestinal stimuli may combine to differing degrees, and their interaction may produce clinical symptoms. ..
  42. Rouzade Dominguez M, Pernar L, Beck S, Valentino R. Convergent responses of Barrington's nucleus neurons to pelvic visceral stimuli in the rat: a juxtacellular labelling study. Eur J Neurosci. 2003;18:3325-34 pubmed
    ..Dysfunctions in this circuit may underlie the coexistence of colon and bladder symptoms observed in functional bowel disorders. ..
  43. Strigo I, Bushnell M, Boivin M, Duncan G. Psychophysical analysis of visceral and cutaneous pain in human subjects. Pain. 2002;97:235-46 pubmed
    ..The data suggest the likelihood of both similarities and differences in the neural substrates underlying visceral and cutaneous pain. ..
  44. Yamamoto K, Noguchi J, Yamada C, Watabe A, Kato F. Distinct target cell-dependent forms of short-term plasticity of the central visceral afferent synapses of the rat. BMC Neurosci. 2010;11:134 pubmed publisher
    The visceral afferents from various cervico-abdominal sensory receptors project to the dorsal vagal complex (DVC), which is composed of the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS), the area postrema and the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus ..
  45. Chen R, Thompson G, Armour J. Patent ductus arteriosus remodels cardiac sensory neuronal chemotransduction. Auton Neurosci. 2004;110:1-7 pubmed
    ..The reduced capacity of neonatal cardiac afferent neurons to transduce chemicals in the presence of a patent ductus arteriosus should be taken into account when considering neonatal cardiovascular control in such a state. ..
  46. Grill H, Hayes M. The nucleus tractus solitarius: a portal for visceral afferent signal processing, energy status assessment and integration of their combined effects on food intake. Int J Obes (Lond). 2009;33 Suppl 1:S11-5 pubmed publisher
    ..Overall, data support the view that the NTS and circuits within the hindbrain mediate the intake inhibition of GI signals, and that the effects of leptin on food intake result from the amplification of GI signal processing. ..
  47. Knowles C, Aziz Q. Basic and clinical aspects of gastrointestinal pain. Pain. 2009;141:191-209 pubmed publisher
    ..The anatomical and molecular basis of gastrointestinal nociception, conditions associated with chronic unexplained visceral pain, and developments in treatment are presented in this review. ..
  48. Cui K, Li W, Gao X, Chung K, Chung J, Wu G. Electro-acupuncture relieves chronic visceral hyperalgesia in rats. Neurosci Lett. 2005;376:20-3 pubmed
    ..These data provide evidence that visceral pain associated with the rat IBS model can be effectively treated by EA and opens up the possibility of clinical treatment of chronic visceral pain with acupuncture. ..
  49. Drossman D. Functional abdominal pain syndrome. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2004;2:353-65 pubmed
    ..In refractory cases, referral to a multidisciplinary pain treatment center might be helpful. ..
  50. Wang G, Ji Y, Lidow M, Traub R. Neonatal hind paw injury alters processing of visceral and somatic nociceptive stimuli in the adult rat. J Pain. 2004;5:440-9 pubmed
  51. Gioia M, Moscheni C, Galbiati S, Gagliano N. Immunocytochemical localization of extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 phosphorylated neurons in the brainstem of rat following visceral noxious stimulation. Neurosci Lett. 2003;349:167-70 pubmed
    ..The comparison between ENS and UNS rats shows that the long acting anaesthetic urethane attenuates the number of the ERKs activated neurons compared to the short acting ether. ..
  52. Robbins M, Uzzell T, Aly S, Ness T. Visceral nociceptive input to the area of the medullary lateral reticular nucleus ascends in the lateral spinal cord. Neurosci Lett. 2005;381:329-33 pubmed
    ..These data support a role for neurons in the region of the LRN in visceral nociception and implicate traditional lateral spinal cord pain pathways in the transmission of visceral information to caudal ventrolateral medullary structures. ..
  53. Randich A, Uzzell T, DeBerry J, Ness T. Neonatal urinary bladder inflammation produces adult bladder hypersensitivity. J Pain. 2006;7:469-79 pubmed
    ..This suggests that events experienced during development may permanently sensitize visceral sensory systems and so represent one of the causes of painful bladder disorders. ..