Fast communication: scientists have discovered how the gut is directly linked to the brain

SL, Понедельник 24 Сентябрь 2018 - 14:53:41

The human gut contains over 100 million nerve cells, and sometimes experts call it the "second brain." It is no secret that the intestine is able to "talk" with the brain, highlighting homony in the circulatory system, which for about ten minutes telling us how the body is hungry or full.

The human brain perceives information through the five senses (touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste) by electrical signals that pass along the long nerve fibers. The signals are moving quickly, so the smell of freshly baked cookies, "I will smite" man, is it worth it to go to the kitchen.

Despite the fact that the intestine is not less important than eyes or ears (as the scientists say, the knowledge that the human stomach needs filling is the key to survival), professionals believed that he sends his messages by using multi-step and indirect process.

The recent work of American scientists showed that the gut and brain, there is a more direct link through a neural circuit. It allows you to transmit signals from a to BA in a few seconds. But about all under the order.

Back eight years ago, in 2010, Diego Bourkes (Diego Bohórquez) from Duke University made a startling discovery. He studied enteroendocrine cells lining the intestinal mucosa and produce hormones that stimulates digestion and suppressing hunger. It was found that such cells have noyabrskij protrusions, reminiscent of synapses, which neurons use to communicate with each other.

Barkes knew that enteroendocrine cells can send with the help of hormone signals in the Central nervous system. The expert wondered whether the cells communicate with the brain using electrical signals, as do the neurons.

Experts have suggested the following: if so, it is possible that the cells have to send signals through the vagus nerve, it goes from the brain down to the abdomen.

To test the hypothesis in practice, scientists introduced fluorescent rabies virus, which is transmitted through neuronal synapses, in the colon of laboratory mice. Then the scientists waited for, will show whether the enteroendocrine cells and their "colleagues". These "colleagues" were neurons of the vagus nerve.

Then a team of scientists grew in a Petri dish enteroendocrine cells together with neurons of the vagus nerve. The result of enteroendocrine cells in contact with neurons of the vagus nerve and formed synaptic connections with them.

Moreover, cells isolated glutamate, a neurotransmitter involved in information transmission about the smell and taste. Neurons of the vagus nerve caught glutamate in 100 milliseconds.

As noted in the press release, scientists were shocked to see that the signal crosses one synapse less than 100 milliseconds – faster than the blink of an eye. Bourkes explains that it is much faster than the hormones are able to move from the gut to the brain via the circulatory system.

In the future, scientists intend to study whether a similar signaling system of the gut and brain communication of important information about the nutrients and caloric value of the food a person consumes, adds the scientist.


According to experts who study disorders of the intestine, Daniel Drucker (Daniel Drucker) from the Research Institute of Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum, this work shows "a new set of paths that use the cells of the intestines for rapid communication with the brain stem". Despite the fact that many issues will remain unresolved until the clinical trials, the new work has become a great new piece of the puzzle, adds Drucker (in this study it was not involved).

As the authors of the work, the results obtained can help in the development of new treatments for obesity, eating disorders as well as depression and autism (all of the above is associated with impaired bowel function).

More information about the results of the study described in the scientific article published in the online edition of Science.

We will add that earlier the authors of the project "Conduct.Science" ( reported on the study of neurons of the "second brain." In addition, we were told that chewing gum and powdered sugar can slow down the intestines.

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