Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gut model HuMiX works like the real thing

11.05.2016

New human microbiome research tool

One of the most complex human organs is the digestive tract: Here, the body comes into contact with all manner of diet-derived compounds and with countless bacteria.


The model of the human is representative of the actual conditions and processes that occur within human intestines.

Credit: University of Luxembourg, scienceRELATIONS.jpeg

Scientists from the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg in collaboration with colleagues at the Luxembourg Institute of Health and the University of Arizona in the United States have now proven that a model of the human gut they have developed and patented - HuMiX - is representative of the actual conditions and processes that occur within our intestines.

With HuMiX, the researchers can analyse the complex interactions between human cells and bacteria, predict their effects on health or disease onset, and study the action of probiotics and drugs. The researchers publish their findings today in the journal Nature Communications (DOI: 10.1038/NCOMMS11535).

In HuMiX, the "Human Microbial Cross-talk" model, human intestinal cells and bacteria can be cultivated together in a very small space under representative conditions. The apparatus, no bigger than a beer mat, consists of three chambers. The top chamber is the supply level, from which nutrients continuously flow down to the cell cultures below. Human cells grow on a very thin membrane in the middle chamber, while bacteria grow in the lowest chamber.

"With HuMiX, we can observe interaction of bacteria in real-time as they communicate with human intestinal cells," says Prof. Paul Wilmes, head of the LCSB Ecosystems Biology Group and inventor of HuMiX.

For their tests confirming the validity of HuMiX experiments, the researchers employed pure cultures of various bacterial strains. "Using cutting-edge analytical methods established at the LCSB, we then studied how the gene activity and metabolism of intestinal epithelial cells change depending on the bacterial strain used in HuMiX," Wilmes explains.

"A comparison of our data with results from other research groups who obtained theirs from humans or animals showed strong agreement." That means HuMiX delivers a very accurate portrayal of the cellular and molecular processes taking place in the human gut. "With HuMiX we can also study processes so far inaccessible by existing experimental methods," Wilmes adds.

Dr. Pranjul Shah, first author of the publication and co-inventor of the HuMiX device, names one example of a metabolic process the LCSB researchers discovered with HuMiX: "In a co-culture of intestinal cells and a certain strain of the bacterial species Lactobacillus rhamnosus, we determined that production of a messenger of the nervous system, specifically the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA, is stimulated in intestinal cells, indicating a mechanism by which the intestine may be communicating with the brain."

Scientists had already seen evidence of this effect several years earlier in the brain of mice born with a completely sterile gut (which was devoid of all intestinal flora), when their gut was inoculated with similar Lactobacillus strains. "The ability of HuMiX to provide such responses can be attributed to the unique capability of the HuMiX model to allow cultivation of anaerobic bacteria along with human intestinal cells", highlights Shah.

"We can now study these and similar effects at an unprecedented level of precision thanks to HuMiX," Paul Wilmes continues. "There are clues, for example, that inflammatory processes can play a role in the onset of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's. In HuMiX, we can introduce distinct bacterial species or whole communities into the artificial gut model whether these organisms trigger or slow down inflammation, or even introduce immune cells and neurons together with the bacteria."

In their publication, the scientists present evidence that HuMiX is a suitable tool for understanding a range of molecular processes involved in the interaction between human cells and bacteria. Furthermore, Wilmes sees a benefit not only for basic research, but also for clinical application: "With HuMiX, we can now also analyse how probiotics, dietary compounds or drugs affect human physiology. We expect to see concrete indicators of how these therapeutics need to be refined in order to work better in the future."

###

The HuMiX project has received support from the Luxembourg National Research Fund's ATTRACT, CORE, Inter mobility, Accompanying Measures 2c, Proof-of-Concept and AFR funding programmes.

Media Contact

Thomas Klein
thomas.klein@uni.lu
352-466-644-5148

 @uni_lu

http://www.uni.lu 

Thomas Klein | EurekAlert!

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Light beam replaces blood test during heart surgery
28.02.2017 | University of Central Florida

nachricht Cells adapt ultra-rapidly to zero gravity
28.02.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New technology offers fast peptide synthesis

28.02.2017 | Life Sciences

WSU research advances energy savings for oil, gas industries

28.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Who can find the fish that makes the best sound?

28.02.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>