Reducing colonic mechanosensitivity is an important potential strategy for reducing visceral pain. Mice lacking acid-sensing ion channels (ASIC) 1, 2, and 3 show altered colonic mechanosensory function, implicating ASICs in the mechanotransduction process. Deletion of ASICs affects mechanotransduction in visceral and cutaneous afferents differently, suggesting differential expression. We determined relative expression of ASIC1, 2, and 3 in mouse thoracolumbar dorsal root ganglia (DRG) by quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis (QPCR) and specifically in retrogradely traced colonic neurons isolated via laser capture microdissection. Localization of ASIC expression in DRG was determined with fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and retrograde tracing. QPCR of whole thoracolumbar DRG revealed and abundance of ASIC2 > ASIC1 > ASIC3. Similarly, FISH of all neurons in thoracolumbar DRG demonstrated that ASIC2 was expressed in the most (40 ± 1%) neurons, followed by ASIC3 (24 ± 1%), then ASIC1 (18 ± 1%). Retrograde tracing from the distal colon labeled 4 ± 1% of neurons in T10-L1 DRG. In contrast to whole DRG, FISH of colonic neurons showed ASIC3 expression in 73 ± 2%, ASIC2 in 47 ± 0.5%, and ASIC1 in 30 ± 2%. QPCR of laser captured colonic neurons revealed that ASIC3 was the most abundant ASIC transcript, followed by ASIC1, then ASIC2. We conclude that ASIC1, 2, and 3 are expressed preferentially in colonic neurons within thoracolumbar DRG. In particular ASIC3, the least abundant in the general population, is the most abundant ASIC transcript in colonic neurons. The prevalence of ASIC3 in neurons innervating the colon supports electrophysiological data showing that it makes a major contribution to colonic mechanotransduction and therefore may be a target for the treatment of visceral pain. J. Comp. Neurol. 500:863–875, 2007. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.