You know that feeling in your gut? We think of it as an innate intuition that sparks deep in the belly and helps guide our actions, if we let it. It's also a metaphor for what scientists call the 'gut-brain axis,' a biological reality in which the gut and its microbial inhabitants send signals to the brain, and vice versa.
In a new study published in Nature Communications, Michigan researchers reveal a pathway by which the hormone leptin contributes to weight loss.
Researchers led by the University of Tsukuba found that the neurotransmitter GABA is an essential regulator of metamorphosis in the sea squirt Ciona intestinalis. Larvae defective in GABA synthesis and transport failed to initiate metamorphosis and did not display adult organ growth. GABA positively regulated neurons expressing the reproductive maturation hormone GnRH, which is required for the key step of metamorphosis. These findings will help researchers to fully characterize the cellular changes underlying metamorphosis and explore pathway conservation among animals.
Researchers invented a microfluidic chip containing cardiac cells that is capable of mimicking hypoxic conditions following a heart attack - specifically when an artery is blocked in the heart and then unblocked after treatment. The chip can be used to monitor electrophysiological and molecular response of the cells to heart attack conditions in real time.
In Japan, an increase in the aging population has exacerbated the demand for regenerative medicine to address increasingly common diseases, such as knee osteoarthritis. In a new study, scientists from Tokyo University of Science, led by Prof Hidenori Otsuka, have developed a novel biocompatible hydrogel that acts as a structural scaffold for the growth of cartilage-producing cells, showcasing a promising new tool for tissue regeneration.
Scientists have identified a specific type of sensory nerve ending in the gut and how these communicate pain or discomfort to the brain, paving the way for targeted treatments for common conditions like ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome or chronic constipation. While understanding of the gut's neurosensory abilities has grown rapidly, two great mysteries have been where and how different types of sensory nerve endings in the gut lie.
Pigs have better feed conversion rates with copper in their diets, but until now, scientists didn't fully understand why. Existing research from the University of Illinois shows copper doesn't change fat and energy absorption from the diet. Instead, according to new research, the element seems to enhance pigs' ability to utilize fat after absorption, resulting in increased energy utilization of the entire diet.
In a paper publishing March 26 in the journal Cell, investigators report that they have used microelectrode arrays implanted in human brains to map out motor functions down to the level of the single nerve cell. The study revealed that an area believed to control only one body part actually operates across a wide range of motor functions. It also demonstrated how different neurons coordinate with each other.
It is estimated that every year, over 100,000 human deaths can be attributed to snakebite from the world's 700 venomous snake species -- all inflicted in self-defence when the snakes feel threatened by encroaching humans. However, a new piece of research concludes that snake venom did not evolve as a defence mechanism.
As the world prioritizes social distancing due to COVID-19, research shows that extended use of Kangaroo Care, a skin-to-skin, chest-to-chest method of caring for a baby, can positively benefit full-term infants and their mothers, with important implications for post-partum depression. The study provides evidence that the physiology of mothers and their full-term infants is influenced by Kangaroo care: it increases oxytocin levels in mothers, and during infancy, can favorably influence both neurodevelopmental trajectories and infant neurobiological functioning.