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Thread: Cure closer for digestive disorders

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    Cure closer for digestive disorders

    Study: Cure closer for digestive disorders

    From staff reports
    The Daily News
    Published December 2, 2005

    GALVESTON — Scientists are closer to finding a cure for those suffering from complicated digestive disorders such as gastroparesis.

    Gastroparesis is a condition often associated with diabetes that causes food to move through the stomach more slowly than normal. Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch have found that stem cells transplanted from the central nervous system to the enteric nervous system in mice can restore motility and move food through the stomach at a normal pace.

    The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Moody Foundation, will appear in the December issue of Gastroenterology, the journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.

    Commonly found in patients with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, gastroparesis occurs when nerves to the stomach are damaged or stop working. As part of the enteric nervous system or “little brain,” the vagus nerve controls the movement of food through the digestive tract along with nerves present within the stomach wall itself.

    Blood sugar levels, if high for an extended period, may cause chemical changes that damage blood vessels carrying oxygen and nutrients to nerves. If these nerves are damaged, the muscles of the stomach and intestines do not work normally, and the movement of food is slowed or stopped.

    According to Pankaj Jay Pasricha, director of the UTMB Division of Gastroenterology and chief investigator of the study, the enteric nervous system consists of many of the same structures and signaling chemicals as the central nervous system or “big brain.” Like the central nervous system, the enteric nervous system transmits and processes messages with neuron receptors that respond to mechanical and chemical signals.

    “More than 90 percent of the body’s total serotonin is in the gut,” Pasricha explained. “It was logical to assume, therefore, that stem cells from one system could help populate the other.”

    To test this hypothesis, Pasricha and his colleague, Maria A. Micci, an assistant professor of gastroenterology, transplanted neural stem cells from the brains of normal mice to stomachs of mice with a genetic defect in the enteric nervous system that mimics diabetic gastroparesis. Once the neural stem cells were transplanted, the researchers saw significant improvement in the stomach function of the mice, partially reversing the effects of gastroparesis.

    “This study provides proof of principle that you can restore function to a dysfunctional stomach by sharing cells from one complex system to another,” Pasricha said. “It provides hope that one day these difficult disorders will be curable.”

  2. #2
    Senior Member stlyin moe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Warwick, RI USA
    “It provides hope that one day these difficult disorders will be curable.”...

    Ya if those afflicted can wait 10 years to see the first human trial get underway then wait an additional 15 years for the trials to finalize and if they're still alive at that point they might see some benefit from this...
    "Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty." ~ Thomas Jefferson

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