How Does a High-Fat Diet Contribute to Pancreatic Cancer?

A high-fat diet can promote development of pancreatic cancer, but cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) inhibitors prevent this process, according to a mouse study published in the December issue of Gastroenterology. The mechanisms appear to involve activation of oncogenic KRAS and upregulation of COX2, which promotes pancreatic inflammation. Increased body mass index and

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A New Way to Detect Pancreatic Tumors?

Researchers have developed an ultrasound technique to image pancreatic tumors in mice, described in the October issue of Gastroenterology. This approach might useful in early detection of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). PDAC is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. It is usually diagnosed at an

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A Special Issue: the Exocrine Pancreas and its Disorders

Everything you ever wanted to know about the pancreas, its development and function, and the pathogenesis and treatment of its disorders are now covered in a special issue of Gastroenterology. Pancreatology is a rapidly developing field—recent findings from molecular and genetic studies are being developed into new treatment strategies. To update

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Molecular Mechanisms of Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

Many of the beneficial effects of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), including improved glucose homeostasis, require the actions of melanocortin-4 receptors (MC4Rs) on autonomic neurons, according to the March issue of Gastroenterology. Fasting glycemia often improves within days of RYGB (see below figure), which produces greater improvements in glucose homeostasis than

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How do Intestinal Stem Cells get their Wnt?

Intestinal homeostasis and stem cells are not affected when Paneth cells stop producing Wnt, but Wnt is required to maintain the stem cell niche in intestinal epithelial cultures, according to a mouse study in the December issue of Gastroenterology. These findings indicate that underlying mesenchymal cells provide a secondary physiological

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What Can We Learn from a Pig Model of FAP?

A pig model of intestinal adenoma development, described in the November issue of Gastroenterology, will improve our understanding of colorectal cancer development and could be used to evaluate new therapeutics. Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is an inherited disease; patients develop dysplasias in the colon and rectum that develop to adenomatous

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How Do Lipids Affect Liver Disease?

Changes in lipid intake or metabolism can affect development of liver injury and fibrosis, according to two studies in mice published in the January issue of Gastroenterology. The liver is an important site of energy production and lipid metabolism. However, accumulation of excess fat in the liver promotes development of fibrosis, cirrhosis

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What Causes Pancreatitis?

Trypsinogen might not be the sole culprit in acute pancreatitis, contradicting a century-old model of this disease; a new model is published in the December issue of Gastroenterology. Trypsinogen is a pancreatic protein that is converted in acinar cells to the enzyme trypsin—a protease that is important for digestion and

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Stem Cells Account for Different Fates of Adenomatous and Hyperplastic Polyps

Adenomatous polyps expand the pool of colon stem cells to become malignant, whereas hyperplastic polyps (HPPs) do not, and therefore remain benign, according to a study published in the September issue of Gastroenterology. Many colorectal cancers arise from adenomatous polyps, which contain mutations that inactivate the tumor suppressor APC. These

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Bariatric Surgery – More Than Expected

Bariatric surgery doesn’t only cause dramatic weight loss—the procedure itself has profound metabolic effects, according to studies published in the September issue of Gastroenterology. Two types of bariatric surgery are most effective therapies for sustained weight loss in obese patients. In Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), a gastric pouch drains into

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