Researchers now shown for the first time how artificially grown mini-intestines can be used in nutritional and diabetic research.
Researchers first isolate small pieces of intestine containing stem cells – in this case from mice. In the next step, a nutrient solution in a test tube stimulates the stem cells to develop into an organ-like structure. In just a few days, a spherical organoid forms that measures just a quarter of a millimeter across and is suitable for use in research.
The intestinal organoid can: actively absorb nutrients and drugs, release hormones after activation by nutrients and transmit signals within the intestinal cells to control these processes.
“This is a huge advance for gastroenterological basic research as well as biomedical sciences and pharmacology,” author believes. The next step will be to work with mini-intestines grown from human intestinal biopsy material. “We’re already in contact with a hospital that can provide the required research material.”In view of the growing number of diabetics and obese individuals, this method can help nutritional researchers develop new forms of treatment.