A lack of comprehensive mapping of ganglionic inputs into the pancreas and of technology for the modulation of the activity of specific pancreatic nerves has hindered the study of how they regulate metabolic processes. Here we show that the pancreas-innervating neurons in sympathetic, parasympathetic and sensory ganglia can be mapped in detail by using tissue clearing and retrograde tracing (the tracing of neural connections from the synapse to the cell body), and that genetic payloads can be delivered via intrapancreatic injection to target sites in efferent pancreatic nerves in live mice through optimized adeno-associated viruses and neural-tissue-specific promoters. We also show that, in male mice, the targeted activation of parasympathetic cholinergic intrapancreatic ganglia and neurons doubled plasma-insulin levels and improved glucose tolerance, and that tolerance was impaired by stimulating pancreas-projecting sympathetic neurons. The ability to map the peripheral ganglia innervating the pancreas and to deliver transgenes to specific pancreas-projecting neurons will facilitate the examination of ganglionic inputs and the study of the roles of pancreatic efferent innervation in glucose metabolism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Biomedical Engineering
- Computer Science Applications