Comparative transcriptional analysis of the satellite glial cell injury response


Sara Elgaard Jager1¥, Lone Tjener Pallesen2¥, Lin Lin2, Francesca Izzi3, Alana Miranda Pinheiro2, Sara Villa-Hernandez1, Paolo Cesare3, Christian Bjerggaard Vaegter2¥¥, Franziska Denk1¥¥

¥ Shared first author, ¥¥ Shared last author, correspondence: Sara E. Jager,



1 Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, Guy's Campus, London, United Kingdom. 2 Department of Biomedicine, Danish Research Institute of Translational Neuroscience—DANDRITE, Nordic-EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine, Aarhus University, Aarhus C, Denmark. 3 NMI Natural and Medical Sciences Institute at the University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.



Satellite glial cells (SGCs) tightly surround and support primary sensory neurons in the peripheral nervous system and are increasingly recognized for their involvement in the development of neuropathic pain following nerve injury. The SGCs are difficult to investigate due to their flattened shape and tight physical connection to neurons in vivo and their rapid changes in phenotype and protein expression when cultured in vitro. Consequently, several aspects of SGC function under normal conditions as well as after a nerve injury remain to be explored. The recent advance in single cell RNAseq technologies has enabled a new approach to investigate SGCs. Here we publish a dataset from mice subjected to sciatic nerve injury as well as a dataset from dorsal root ganglia cells after 3 days in culture. We use a meta-analysis approach to compare the injury response with that in other published datasets and conclude that SGCs share a common signature following sciatic nerve crush and sciatic ligation, involving transcriptional regulation of cholesterol biosynthesis. We also observed a considerable transcriptional change when culturing SGCs, suggesting that some differentiate into a specialised in vitro state, while others start resembling Schwann cell-like precursors.


In this study you can view the single cell sequencing data from “Comparative transcriptional analysis of the satellite glial cell injury response”:

You can find the following datasets which contain cells from the dorsal root ganglia in mice:

Cell_SNI which contains cells 7 days and 14 days after spared nerve injury of the sciatic nerve and naïve control cells.

Cell_crush which contains cells 3 days after a crush of the sciatic nerve and control cells.

Cell_culture which contains cells sequenced after 72hrs in culture.

For each dataset you can find UMAPs visualizing the clusters and their annotations. To explore the datasets go to the tab “Explore”.

-          Choose the dataset under “Clustering” and the cell type annotation under “Annotation”

-          For the SGC subsets of Cell_SNI and Cell_crush you find the cluster analysis in the annotation called “Cluster”

-          The Cell_culture dataset includes annotations based only on the Cell_culture dataset (celltype) and on the joint analysis with the Cell_SNI dataset (celltype_joint)

To compare gene expression in the selected dataset and with the selected annotation write your gene in the search bar and press the “magnifying glass”.

-          You will see an UMAP with the expression visualized

-          To get a violin plot choose the “Distribution” tab next to the search bar


A R notebook for producing the figures is available as a supplementary file to the pre-print:  

The seurat objects for the datasets and the raw files are available for download from the Gene Expression Omnibus database at the following accession numbers: GSE139103 (Cell_crush), GSE174430 (Cell_SNI) and GSE188971 (Cell_culture).

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Comparative transcriptional analysis of the satellite glial cell injury response