In an exciting new paper led by STRAND Researchers Dr Bhavik Patel, Dr Mel Flint and Dr Mark Yeoman, alongside colleagues from The Open University examining a potential novel treatment class for chronic constipation has been published in the prestigious  Nature Scientific Reports. The paper examines the use of 5-HT, an important pro-kinetic agent in the colon, to see if alterations in colonic 5-HT signalling underlie age–related changes in faecal output in mice and whether these changes were due to an increase in TNF-α. The researchers observed reduced faecal output and water content in aged animals, as well as increased mucosal 5-HT availability and TNF-α expression and decreased mucosal SERT expression and 5-HIAA. The treatment of old mice with Etanercept reversed these changes, suggesting that age-related changes in TNFα expression are an important regulator of mucosal 5-HT signalling and pellet output and water content in old mice. This study points to “anti-TNFα” drugs as potential treatments for age-related chronic constipation.

Patel, BA, Fidalgo, S, Wang, C, Parmar, L, Mandona, K, Panossian, A, Flint, MS, Ranson, RN, Saffrey, MJ  & Yeoman, MS (2017) The TNF-α antagonist etanercept reverses age-related decreases in colonic SERT expression and faecal output in mice. Sci. Rep. 7, 42754; doi: 10.1038/srep42754

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