Making sense out of spinal cord somatosensory development

Helen C. Lai, Rebecca P. Seal, Jane E. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


The spinal cord integrates and relays somatosensory input, leading to complex motor responses. Research over the past couple of decades has identified transcription factor networks that function during development to define and instruct the generation of diverse neuronal populations within the spinal cord. A number of studies have now started to connect these developmentally defined populations with their roles in somatosensory circuits. Here, we review our current understanding of how neuronal diversity in the dorsal spinal cord is generated and we discuss the logic underlying how these neurons form the basis of somatosensory circuits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3434-3448
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Cutaneous
  • Dorsal spinal cord development
  • Itch
  • Mechanosensation
  • Neuroepithelium
  • Nociception
  • Pain
  • Proprioception
  • Pruriception
  • Thermosensation
  • Touch
  • Transcription factor networks
  • Vertebrate neural tube

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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