In a paper published in this month’s issue of the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Dr Brian King and Dr Andrea Townsend-Nicholson explored the molecular basis of relaxations of the gut.
In the study, the authors identified two protein receptors – P2Y1 and P2Y11 – involved in fast and slow relaxations of the gut. These proteins were identified in the guinea pig, but are also present in the human gut, and thus offer the potential as a future target for drug treatment. Further research by the UCL team will focus on the human isoform of the P2Y11 protein receptor.
Dr Brian King of the UCL Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology says: “The mechanisms we have identified are important to the normal workings of the stomach - a hollow organ which actively relaxes to help accommodate the size of your meal. The human stomach has a ‘resting’ internal volume of 75 millilitres but, by relaxing its muscular wall, can expand to an internal volume of two litres or more - a 25-fold increase in the volume it can accept. This expansion is controlled by nerves inside the stomach wall and these nerves release molecules that stimulate the P2Y1 and P2Y11 receptor proteins embedded in muscle cells in the gut wall.
“The mechanism of slow relaxation of the stomach might represent a future drug target in the fight to control weight gain and reverse obesity. We are looking to identify drugs that would block the P2Y11 receptor and, therefore, prevent slow relaxation of the stomach. As a result of blocking the P2Y11-based mechanism, meal size would be smaller, offering the person a better chance of regulating their food intake.
“This would be a brand new approach to weight control. At present, the most successful way to help obese patients lose weight is gastric banding or stomach stapling, both of which reduce the maximum volume of the stomach. But these are also tricky surgical procedures, not without attendant risks. A pill that could replace this surgery, yet have the same effect, might be a useful alternative.”
Jenny Gimpel | alfa
Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital
Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex
21.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Hirnforschung
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.09.2017 | Life Sciences
21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine