• Author Q and A Series: Alcohol, the Microbiota, and Liver Disease

Author Q and A Series: Alcohol, the Microbiota, and Liver Disease

Chronic alcohol consumption disrupts the intestinal microbiota to reduce production of saturated long-chain fatty acids and subsequently the proportion and functions of hepatoprotective lactobacilli, Peng Chen et al report in the January issue of Gastroenterology. Dietary approaches to restore levels of saturated fatty acids in the intestine might therefore reduce ethanol-induced liver injury in patients with

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  • Real-Time Views of Gastrointestinal Motility

Real-Time Views of Gastrointestinal Motility

Bioengineers have found a way to visualize the action of the gastrointestinal tract in real-time, developing a non-invasive means to observe the wave-like muscle contractions that occur during peristalsis. According to the NIH Director’s blog, new technologies are needed to aid in diagnosis and treatment of the wide range of

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  • How Does Vitamin D Lower Cholesterol?

How Does Vitamin D Lower Cholesterol?

Researchers have identified a mechanism by which vitamin D reduces levels of cholesterol. In a mouse study published in the April issue of Gastroenterology, Edwin Chow et al. show that activation of the vitamin D receptor increases cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase (CYP7A1)—an enzyme that metabolizes cholesterol—by downregulating its repressor, SHP. Studies have

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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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