Menu

The Gut of Mice Communicates with the Brain Through the Vagus Nerve

The researchers who made the discovery suggest the signaling may form a sixth sense.

Sep 21, 2018
Sukanya Charuchandra

ABOVE: ©ISTOCK, MAN_AT_MOUSE

Previous research has shown that the gut-brain connection, which refers to signaling between the digestive and the central nervous systems, is based on the transport of hormones, but a study published today (September 21) in Science suggests there may be a more direct link—the vagus nerve.

This research presents “a new set of pathways that use gut cells to rapidly communicate with . . . the brain stem,” Daniel Drucker, who studies gut disorders at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto, Canada, and was not involved with the project, tells Science

See “Gut Feeling

Building on an earlier study in which the team found that gut cells had synapses, the researchers injected a rabies virus, expressing green fluorescence, into the stomachs of mice and watched it travel speedily from the intestines to the rodents’ brainstems. 

When they grew sensory gut cells together with neurons from the vagus nerve, the neurons moved across the dish to form synapses with the gut cells and began electrically coupling with them. Adding sugar to the dish sped up the rate of signaling between the gut and brain cells, a finding that suggests glutamate, a neurotransmitter involved in sensing taste, may be key to the process. Blocking glutamate secretion in gut cells brought these signals to a grinding halt. 

“We think these findings are going to be the biological basis of a new sense,” coauthor Diego Bohórquez, an assistant professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine, says in a statement. “One that serves as the entry point for how the brain knows when the stomach is full of food and calories. It brings legitimacy to idea of the ‘gut feeling’ as a sixth sense.”

See “Research Links Gut Health to Neurodegeneration

December 2018

Invisible Borders

An emerging appreciation for membraneless organelles and the liquid dynamics that shape them

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Rapid ELISA-Based Measurement Of Protein Phosphorylation
Rapid ELISA-Based Measurement Of Protein Phosphorylation
In this article, RayBiotech will present a study in which the phosphorylation of two proteins, STAT1 (Tyr701) and Mek1 (Ser217/221), is detected in response to various agonists. Data from the RayBio® Phosphorylation ELISA kits will be compared to traditional immunoblotting.
Protein Sample Quality Identification and Evaluation
Protein Sample Quality Identification and Evaluation
Checking the quality of your protein before and during your process gives you the highest chance of getting the consistent results. Learn how to evaluate the quality of your protein samples with this application note from NanoTemper!
Using CDD Vault to Manage Redbrick Molecular Ltd. Catalogues - A Case Study
Using CDD Vault to Manage Redbrick Molecular Ltd. Catalogues - A Case Study
Check out this case study to find out why Redbrick Molecular Ltd. chose CDD Vault as their database and informatics platform, and how they made use of the CDD Vault to implement a complex catalogue in a simple way.
New automated N-glycan profiling web app shaves days off of data interpretation for glycobiologists
New automated N-glycan profiling web app shaves days off of data interpretation for glycobiologists
The first automated, web-based application that enables routine use of enzymatic digestions to improve N-glycan analyses from New England Biolabs (NEB). This software not only saves precious times for glycobiologists who are more attuned to traditional methods, but also provides the most accurate interpretation of glycan enzymatic digestion data on the market.