Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
In many cases, a bit of intestinal distress like traveler's diarrhea leads to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Pixabay

For some people, a bout of intestinal distress like traveler’s diarrhea leads to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Recent discoveries have given researchers a better idea of how this happens, and potential leads for new treatments.

Scientists aren’t sure exactly how this happens, but some think an infection may contribute to IBS by damaging the gut nervous system.


The study, published in the journal Cell, takes a close look at why neurons in the gut die and how the immune system normally protects them.

The research from Rockefeller University on mice offers insight into IBS, a chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract and could point to potential new treatment approaches.


IBS is a chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract. Wikimedia Commons

According to the researchers, in a healthy gut, the immune system must strike a careful balance between responding to threats and keeping that response in check to avoid damage.

“Inflammation helps the gut ward off an infection, but too much of it can cause lasting harm,” said study researcher Daniel Mucida, Associate Professor at Rockefeller University in the US.

“Our work explores the complex mechanisms that prevent inflammatory responses from destroying neurons,” Mucida added.

To understand the effects of an infection on the nervous system, the research team gave mice a weakened form of Salmonella, a bacterium that causes food poisoning, and analysed neurons within the intestine.

They found that infection induced a long-lasting reduction of neurons, an effect they attributed to the fact these cells express two genes, Nlrp6 and Caspase 11, which can contribute to a specific type of inflammatory response.

This response, in turn, can ultimately prompt the cells to undergo a form of programmed cell death.


An infection may contribute to IBS by damaging the gut nervous system. Pixabay

When the researchers manipulated mice to eliminate these genes specifically in neurons, they saw a decrease in the number of neurons expiring.

“This mechanism of cell death has been documented in other types of cells, but never before in neurons,” said study researcher Fanny Matheis.

“We believe these gut neurons may be the only ones to die this way,” Matheis added.

It’s not yet clear exactly how inflammation causes neurons to commit cell suicide, yet the researchers already have clues suggesting it might be possible to interfere with the process.

The key may be a specialised set of gut immune cells, known as muscularis macrophages.

Previous work in Mucida’s lab has shown that these cells express inflammation-fighting genes and collaborate with the neurons to keep food moving through the digestive tract.

If these neurons die off, as happens in an infection, a possible result is constipation — one of a number of unpleasant IBS symptoms.

In their recent report, the team demonstrated how macrophages come to the neurons’ aid during an infection, ameliorating this aspect of the disorder.

Their experiments revealed that macrophages possess a certain type of receptor molecule that receives stress signals released by another set of neurons in response to an infection.

Also Read- Over 95% Women Feel That Abortion Was The Right Decision: Study

Once activated, this receptor prompts the macrophage to produce molecules called polyamines, which the researchers think might interfere with the cell death process.

In other experiments, the researchers found that Salmonella infection alters the community of microbes within the guts of mice — and when they restored the animals’ intestinal flora back to normal, the neurons recovered. (IANS)


Popular

IANS

Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), a subsidiary of Coal India will set up a 50 megawatt (MW) solar power plant in Odisha's Sambalpur

Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), a subsidiary of Coal India will set up a 50 megawatt (MW) solar power plant in Odisha's Sambalpur at a total cost of Rs 301.92 crore, moving steadily towards its goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2024. MCL has placed a turnkey order to set-up a 50 MW solar power plant with a Chennai-based firm M/s Hild Energy Ltd, which will establish this green energy project within a timeline of 10 months, the MCL said in a statement on Saturday.

This solar plant would cater to the captive power requirement of MCL. The Central PSU had successfully set-up a 2MW solar power plant in Sambalpur in 2014. The company said it has pledged a target of installing 182 MW of solar power by 2024 in order to become a net zero energy company, aligning itself to use cleaner forms of energy for coal production.

white and blue solar panel system The company said it has pledged a target of installing 182 MW of solar power by 2024. | Photo by Mariana Proença on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
IANS

As the nation celebrated the 114th birth anniversary of his father - renowned poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan - megastar Amitabh Bachchan remembered his dad as he penned a heartfelt note for him.

As the nation celebrated the 114th birth anniversary of his father - renowned poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan - megastar Amitabh Bachchan remembered his dad as he penned a heartfelt note for him. The actor took to his blog where he poured his heart out and also shared an unseen photo with his father. The image in question is from Big B's wedding in 1973, where the two are caught in a sweet moment as they look at each other.

Amitabh Bachchan wrote on his blog,

"My Father , my all .. November 27th his birth in the year 1907 .. Which makes it his 114th Anniversary .. He is in the heavens, with my Mother and they celebrate .. as do we , in thought word and deed .. (sic). But first."


Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Camille Brodard on Unsplash

With multiple brands coming up with new standards of vegan and sustainable beauty, many consumers are left confused and doubting the authenticity of these claims.

By Plabita Sharma

The World Vegan month of November usually brings with itself an increased amount of dialogue and searches about Vegan lifestyle, sustainable living and clean beauty. Before pondering any further, it is important to understand what the Vegan lifestyle is and how it goes beyond the concept of consuming a plant-based diet. Veganism essentially is a lifestyle that is driven by compassionate choices and an increased awareness of one's actions on the world. Thus motivated by the two, a vegan individual usually carefully curates their day-to-day practices in a manner that does little to no- harm to the planet, the people and all of its inhabitants.

Beauty as industry has time and again been scrutinised for its effects on the consumers and the ecosystem - this can be during the manufacturing process or the effect it has on the consumer's thought processes. Now, as the world moves towards adopting Global Sustainability Goals, committing to a world that works with the natural resources instead of against them - it is only fair for each individual to be curious about making the right choices to make their beauty bag as consciously curated as possible. With multiple brands coming up with new standards of vegan and sustainable beauty, many consumers are left confused and doubting the authenticity of these claims. So here is a quick guide that can help you make the right choices:

Vegan and cruelty free labels: Keeping true to the traditional meaning of Vegan - any vegan beauty product means that it is completely plant based and has no animal ingredients or any of their by-products like honey, beeswax, dairy product etc. Similarly, cruelty-free as a label means that the ingredients or the final product did not test on animals or harm any animals during the production process. One way to test the authenticity is to check if these products are legally certified by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), or verified by Vegan organisations as The Vegan Society and others. Cruelty-free and vegan products are also generally categorized by having cleaner and gentler formulas as they are mostly deprived of harsh chemicals and solvents.

woman peeking over green leaf plant taken at daytime Any vegan beauty product means that it is completely plant based and has no animal ingredients or any of their by-products like honey, beeswax, dairy product etc. | Photo by Drew Dizzy Graham on Unsplash

Keep reading... Show less