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Glial cells are visible in looping green traces against a black background. Purple loops coincide with some of the loops, showing where a nerve-sensitizing compound is being released.
November 27, 2023
Researchers led by Brian Gulbransen at Michigan State University have uncovered a reason that may explain why visceral pain is so common in conditions like irritable bowel syndrome. This understanding could inspire new and better ways to alleviate that pain.
The zebrafish is a freshwater fish belonging to the minnow family. It is an important and widely used vertebrate model organism in scientific research, notable for its regenerative abilities.
January 30, 2023
MSU integrative biologist Julia Ganz will use a two-year, $439,408 grant from the National Institutes of Health to explore the zebrafish’s unique superpower to gain insights that could someday lead to discoveries benefitting people suffering from neurological diseases of digestive system.
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October 1, 2021
Researchers at MSU have made a surprising discovery about the human gut’s enteric nervous system. This system contains several specialized nervous system cells, including glial cells. In research published online on Oct. 1 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Brian Gulbransen and his team revealed that glia act in a very precise way to influence the signals carried by neuronal circuits in the gut. This discovery could help pave the way for new treatments for intestinal illness that affects as much as 15 percent of the U.S. population.
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August 9, 2021
Currently, there is no cure for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or IBD, a condition that includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. But new research led by MSU scientists is bringing fresh insight to the IBD table—an unexpected connection between specialized cells in the gut called glia and the genes involved in IBD. Their findings, published in Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, could lead to more effective treatments for one of the most elusive gut problems in the world.

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