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New Discovery in IBD Holds Therapeutic Potential

The inflammation associated with IBD results in the damage and death of neurons lining the gastrointestinal tract, and this damage translates into debilitating symptoms such as chronic pain and disruptive digestive conditions. There are currently no therapeutic options to prevent this damage. Dr. Keith A Sharkey, Dr. Brian D Gulbransen, and colleagues from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases have made a new discovery that may change this.

By using translatable animal models, Dr. Sharkey’s team have identified “pannexins” as molecules that mediate the death of gastrointestinal neurons. Further, it was found that by blocking pannexins in mice that damage to their gastrointestinal tract could be significantly reduced. Since pannexins are also found in humans, this discovery may lead to future drug therapies to block pannexin, and improve disease outcomes, in humans.

This study is published in Nature Medicine. Read the article here.

Dr. Keith Sharkey is a senior researcher in the Alberta Inflammatory Bowel Disease Consortium, Deputy Director of the Hochkiss Brain Institute, and the CCFC Chair in IBD Research at the University of Calgary. This research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada.

Photo republished from:
http://www.ucalgary.ca/girg/sharkeyk


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