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Coating our intestine partitions with glue could handle lactose intolerance


Coating our intestine partitions with glue could handle lactose intolerance

By Alice Klein Intestinal tissue from pigs without (left) and with (right) a synthetic coatingJunwei Li, MITA synthetic glue that sticks to the inside of the small intestine could form the basis of a treatment for several health conditions, including lactose intolerance, diabetes and obesity. Tests in pigs show that the glue, when enhanced with…

Coating our intestine partitions with glue could handle lactose intolerance

By Alice Klein

New Scientist Default Image

Intestinal tissue from pigs without having (remaining) and with (appropriate) a synthetic coating

Junwei Li, MIT

A artificial glue that sticks to the inside of the smaller intestine could kind the foundation of a procedure for various health disorders, which includes lactose intolerance, diabetic issues and weight problems. Assessments in pigs demonstrate that the glue, when enhanced with enzymes or other chemical substances, regulates the gut’s capacity to absorb important nutrients.

The modest intestine absorbs nutrients from foodstuff, but it doesn’t always function to its complete likely. For instance, it could not produce more than enough of an enzyme named lactase that is demanded to digest lactose, the sugar uncovered in milk.

To assistance handle this kind of lactose intolerance and other digestive issues, Giovanni Traverso at Massachusetts Institute of Technologies and his colleagues created a artificial glue that can line the small intestine and regulate the uptake of distinctive nutrients.


The lining is introduced by consuming a drink that contains substances that bind collectively when they face an enzyme located in the tiny intestine. The resulting substance, known as polydopamine, is similar to the glue mussels use to grip soaked rocks on the seashore. It sticks tightly to the intestinal lining.

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The scientists found they could handle the uptake of unique vitamins in the modest intestines of pigs by including various substances to the artificial lining. For illustration, they ended up in a position to raise lactose digestion 20-fold by incorporating lactase into the lining.

They also managed to decrease glucose uptake in the pigs by mixing a distinct type of nanoparticle into the lining. This may possibly represent a new treatment for diabetic issues and being overweight, which are affiliated with extra glucose, states Traverso.

The synthetic lining adhered to the compact intestine for about 24 several hours just before the natural way washing off and getting excreted. This suggests the drink containing the glue setting up blocks would want to be consumed every day to keep replenishing the lining, suggests Traverso.

No observable aspect effects ended up witnessed in the pigs, but further basic safety scientific tests would require to be done in other animals – potentially non-human primates – right before the engineering is examined in men and women, states Traverso. “We foresee very first-in-human experiments in the next 3 to five a long time,” he claims.

Journal reference: Science Translational Medication, DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abc0441

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