Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mini-intestine grown in a test tube

20.11.2015

The ability to grow three-dimensional precursors of an organ from stem cells in a Petri dish has brought about a revolution in the field of biomedicine. But exactly what can be researched on such an organoid in vitro? A team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now shown for the first time how artificially grown mini-intestines can be used in nutritional and diabetic research.

Research efforts on the intestine have increased in recent years. Owing to its enormous surface area – comparable to that of a one-bedroom apartment – and the huge number of neurons it contains – comparable to that in the brain – the intestine is sometimes referred to as the abdominal brain.


Organoids just a quarter of a millimeter across exhibit functions of the human intestine. (Photo: TUM/ Zietek)


The diagram shows on the right side a mini-intestine grown in a test tube and on the left you can see how it works. (Photo: TUM/ Zietek)

In addition to absorbing nutrients from the foods we eat, it influences our immune status and metabolism. With the help of sensors, specialized cells in the intestinal wall determine which hormones, if any, should be released into the bloodstream. Overall, it acts as a highly sophisticated control center.

How an organoid grows from cells

Among their many functions, intestinal hormones, known as incretins, control blood glucose levels, appetite and fat metabolism. Diabetics and obese individuals have already been successfully treated with drugs based on the mechanisms of action of these hormones. However, still too little is known about the precise mechanism behind incretin release.

Applying a new method that is used mainly in stem-cell research and regenerative medicine, researchers from the Technical University of Munich have now devised a robust intestinal model for molecular research into incretin release in a test tube (in vitro).

To do so, they first isolate small pieces of intestine containing stem cells – in this case from mice. In the next step, a nutrient solution in a test tube stimulates the stem cells to develop into an organ-like structure. In just a few days, a spherical organoid forms that measures just a quarter of a millimeter across and is suitable for use in research.

Mini-intestine functions like normal intestinal tissue

“The special thing about our scientific work on the intestinal organoid is that we can observe its inner workings,” explains Dr. Tamara Zietek of the Department of Nutrition Physiology. “The mini-intestines exhibit all the essential functions of a real intestine,” the TUM scientist adds.

The intestinal organoid can:

actively absorb nutrients and drugs
release hormones after activation by nutrients
transmit signals within the intestinal cells to control these processes.

“Until now, it was not possible to investigate these processes in a single model, because conventional models are unsuitable for all these measurements,” says Zietek, the corresponding author of the article that appeared in Scientific Reports of the Nature Publishing Group. In addition, once mini-intestines have been grown, researchers can work with them for months, because they can be replicated in the laboratory.

“This drastically reduces the number of experimental animals needed,” says the scientist. Interdisciplinary collaboration Zietek developed the method in collaboration with Dr. Eva Rath of the Department of Nutrition and Immunology. Working on an interdisciplinary basis, the two scientists have combined organoid cultivation with molecular nutritional research. They are now demonstrating that the mini-intestine is an ideal model for investigating hormone release and transport mechanisms in the digestive tract.

“This is a huge advance for gastroenterological basic research as well as biomedical sciences and pharmacology,” Zietek believes. The next step will be to work with mini-intestines grown from human intestinal biopsy material. “We’re already in contact with a hospital that can provide the required research material.”In view of the growing number of diabetics and obese individuals, this method can help nutritional researchers develop new forms of treatment.

Publication:
Tamara Zietek, Eva Rath, Dirk Haller und Hannelore Daniel: Intestinal organoids for assessing nutrient transport, sensing and incretin secretion, Nature Scientific Reports 19.11.2015.
DOI: 10.1038/srep16831

Contact:
Dr. Tamara Zietek
Technical University of Munich
Department of Nutrition and Immunology
Phone: +49 (0)8161/71 3553
Mail: zietek@tum.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/short/article/32752/

Dr. Ulrich Marsch | Technische Universität München

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>