Press release Hubrecht Institute

Tweaking of hormone producing cells in the intestine

31 January 2019

Researchers from the group of Hans Clevers at the Hubrecht Institute (KNAW) in the Netherlands and their collaborators shed new light on the origin and function of hormone producing cells in the intestine and open new avenues to tweak gut hormone production to treat human disease. 

Their results were recently published in Nature Cell Biology and in Cell.

Intestinal hormones

Did you ever wonder where that sudden feeling of hunger comes from when your empty stomach rumbles? Thousands of nutrient-sensitive cells, or enteroendocrine cells, scattered throughout your stomach and intestine just released millions of tiny vesicles filled with the hunger hormone ghrelin into your bloodstream. Such hormones act as the gut’s primary method of communication and coordination with more distant parts of the digestive tract or other organs such as the pancreas and the brain. In response to certain stimuli, different enteroendocrine cells produce different hormones, which induce hunger or satiety, coordinate movement of intestinal muscles, stimulate the repair of the intestine’s protective cell layer or promote a higher output of insulin from the pancreas. The latter is especially interesting in patients with type II diabetes, which are on their own unable to produce sufficient insulin to stabilize their glucose levels. One of the most successful treatments for diabetes is based on the gut hormone GLP1, with which these patients are able to control their blood glucose without the need of insulin injections.

More information

Read the full article on the website of Hubecht Institute.

Hubrecht Institute

The Hubrecht Institute – an Academy research institute – focused on developmental and stem cell biology. It encompasses 20 research groups that perform fundamental and multidisciplinary research, both in healthy systems and disease models. Since 2008, the institute is affiliated with the University Medical Center Utrecht, advancing the translation of research to the clinic. The Hubrecht Institute has a partnership with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL).

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