Sensory neurons of the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) are the primary responders to stimuli inducing feelings of touch, pain, temperature, vibration, pressure and muscle tension. They consist of multiple subpopulations based on their morphology, molecular and functional properties. Our understanding of DRG sensory neurons has been predominantly driven by rodent studies and using transformed cell lines, whereas less is known about human sensory DRG neurons simply because of limited availability of human tissue. Although these previous studies have been fundamental for our understanding of the sensory system, it is imperative to profile human DRG subpopulations as it is becoming evident that human sensory neurons do not share the identical molecular and functional properties found in other species. Furthermore, there are wide range of diseases and disorders that directly/indirectly cause sensory neuronal degeneration or dysfunctionality. Having an in vitro source of human DRG sensory neurons is paramount for studying their development, unique neuronal properties and for accelerating regenerative therapies to treat sensory neuropathies. Here we review the major studies describing generation of DRG sensory neurons from human pluripotent stem cells and fibroblasts and the gaps that need to be addressed for using in vitro-generated human DRG neurons to model human DRG tissue.
Available for download on Saturday, June 01, 2019