Newly discovered neuron circuit shows gut is directly connected to the brain

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A new Duke University study has found a new neuron circuit that proves the gut has a more direct connection to the brain than previously thought.

Science reports that enteroendocrine cells lining the gut have protrusions similar to neurons, leading researchers to suspect they may be sending signals to the brain via the vagus nerve.

When a fluorescent green rabies virus was injected into the colons of mice, the virus labeled the vagus nerve before landing in the brain stem, proving there was a direct circuit.

Enteroendocrine cells grown in the same petri dish as vagal neurons connected together and began firing signals. The cells released the neurotransmitter glutamate, involved in conveying senses like taste or smell, which the neurons picked up on within 100 milliseconds.

The findings could have massive implications on our understanding of appetite and how to suppress it. Current suppressants target slow-acting hormones, but going after the synapses may in fact be the more effective approach.


RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Depiction of enteroendocrine cells with protrusions similar to neurons
2. Depiction of vagal nerves as a direct circuit connecting the gut to the brain
3. Depiction of synaptic connection between enteroendocrine cells and vagal neurons
4. Depiction of neurotransmitter glutamate


VOICEOVER (in English):

"Enteroendocrine cells that line the gut have protrusions similar to neurons, leading researchers to suspect they may be sending signals to the brain via the vagus nerve."

"When a fluorescent green rabies virus was injected into the colons of mice, the virus labeled the vagus nerve before landing in the brain stem, proving there was a direct circuit."

"Enteroendocrine cells grown in the same petri dish as vagal neurons connected together and began firing signals."

"The cells released the neurotransmitter glutamate, involved in conveying senses like taste or smell, which the neurons picked up on within 100 milliseconds."


SOURCES:
Duke University, Science
https://today.duke.edu/2018/09/%E2%80%9Cgut-sense%E2%80%9D-hardwired-not-hormonal
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/09/your-gut-directly-connected-your-brain-newly-discovered-neuron-circuit