Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New understanding of nervous system gives insight into common gut problem in newborn babies

04.12.2003


Medical Research Council (MRC) researchers have unlocked the mysteries of the nervous system responsible for proper formation and function of the gut. This new understanding has implications for treating Hirschsprung’s disease, a common disorder in newborns that requires corrective surgery in order for food to pass through the bowel and the colon.



The study shows that two important molecular switches work together to regulate the movement of crucially important cells, that will eventually become ‘enteric neurons.’ During early embryonic development these cells move from the brain to the gut, to create the ‘enteric’ nervous system. This specialised branch of the nervous system works independently of the brain and is responsible for ‘peristalsis’ of the gut – the wave-like contraction of the gut that allows the contents to be propelled through the bowel.

Failure of these migrating cells to populate the entire length of the gut causes Hirschprung’s disease, a common disorder that affects approximately one in every 4500 children. The affected portion does not expand and the contents of the bowel accumulate in the upper colon, causing swelling, abdominal pain and severe constipation, which could have serious consequences if left untreated.


The team, led by Professor Vassilis Pachnis at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research, found that some of the key molecules* that are individually important for development of the enteric nervous system, work together to act as master regulators to allow normal colonisation of the gut by the enteric neurons.

The researchers also found that the balance of both these key molecules is critical to correct development and function of the gut.

Professor Pachnis said: “The work we’ve been doing is very basic and doesn’t offer an immediate alternative to surgery, which is used successfully at the moment to alleviate the immediate effects of obstruction. However, frequently, and despite successful surgery Hirschsprung’s patients continue to have associated problems throughout life.

“By modifying defective versions of these molecules, so the enteric neurons can establish themselves appropriately along the full length of the gut, it might be possible to prevent this common problem and remove the need for surgery in future. We’re already looking at how stem-cell technology could help us in this approach.”

| alfa
Further information:
http://www.biologists.com/web/index.html
http://www.mrc.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>