Apr, 2022 - By WMR
Researchers found a touch-sensitive protein in the gut, usually found in the skin that seemed to sense the presence of food and triggers contractions for pushing it along
A team of scientists at Flinders University, Australia discovered a touch sensitive protein in the gut that can usually be found in skin. According to the research published in the journal Gastroenterology on February 02, 2022, this protein was found to sense the food presence and activate contractions pushing the food along, and lower levels of this touch-sensitive protein could be linked to conditions such as constipation.
The protein that was found in the gut in this study is called as Piezo2 and is known to respond to mechanical pressure playing a role in sense of touch in humans. The protein is normally found in the skin, specifically in parts such as the fingertips. The team of scientists however, found these proteins in unusual place, the intestine. It was found that the protein enterochromaffin (EC) cells in human and mouse, and it seemed to support the gut motility. The team found Piezo2 in cells present in digestive tract that allow them to sense physical stimuli like pressure or touch that is usually happens when there is food present in the gut. Then the cells release serotonin for stimulating gut contractions in response and push the food further.
Furthermore, the team also found that the levels of Piezo2 lower down in humans as they age and thus, the gut motility also slows down leading to age-related constipation. As reported by the team, this new research requires more work in order to establish the relationship between lack of Piezo2 with constipation, in general or age-related, and this research could provide more insights and information that may help to develop new potential treatment for such conditions.
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