2021 Vol. 12, No. 8
The enteric nervous system (ENS) is indispensable for normal functions of the gastrointestinal tract. In this issue, Sun et al. exploited the advanced 3D imaging technique to visualize the mouse, non-human primate, and human ENS. The cover image showed the whole-tissue co-immunolabeling of tyrosine hydroxylase for catecholaminergic axons (green) and vesicular acetylcholine transporter for cholinergic axons (red) within the mouse ENS. This study observed the profound loss of catecholaminergic axons in the human and mouse colons during colitis. Notably, this neurodegenerative event decreased the local content of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine that would otherwise promote expression of pro-inflammatory IL-17 cytokines. Therefore, this study revealed the unique, beneficial role of neurodegeneration within the ENS to protect against the colon inflammation.