A leaky gut maybe be the root of some cancers forming elsewhere in the body

A team of scientists led by Dr Scott Waldman of the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Thomas Jefferson University and director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Program at Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Centre has found that a hormone receptor guanylyl cyclase C (GC-C) plays a key role in strengthening the intestinal barrier, and thus keeping cancer-causing agents from leaking out into the body.

By silencing the GC-C in mice, they found that the integrity of the intestinal barrier was compromised and inflammation occurred as well as damage to DNA and cancer occurred outside the intestines, including in the lung, liver and lymph nodes. They found that stimulating the GC-C in mice strengthened the barrier and prevented the leaks of cancer-causing agents.

A weak intestinal barrier has already been linked to inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and food allergies. The role of GC-C outside the gut is largely unknown. Dr Waldman has previously shown its role as a tumour suppressor, to predict cancer risk and shown a correlation with obesity because GC-C is known to affect appetite in mice and induce obesity by removing the awareness of when to stop eating.

Source: Thomas Jefferson University

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First Published in Febuary 2012

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