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
A new approach to targeting cancer cells
20.05.2019 | University of California - Riverside
Radioisotope couple for tumor diagnosis and therapy
14.05.2019 | Kanazawa University
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.
However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...
Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future
When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...
Scientists develop a molecular recording tool that enables in vivo lineage tracing of embryonic cells
The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
20.05.2019 | Materials Sciences
20.05.2019 | Life Sciences
20.05.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering