The intestine is essential for maintaining our energy balance and is a master at reacting quickly to changes in nutrition and nutrient balance.
It manages to do this with the help of intestinal cells that among other things are specialized in the absorption of food components or the secretion of hormones. In adult humans, the intestinal cells regenerate every five to seven days.
The ability to constantly renew and develop all types of intestinal cells from intestinal stem cells is crucial for the natural adaptability of the digestive system. However, a long-term diet high in sugar and fat disrupts this adaptation and can contribute to the development of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and gastrointestinal cancer.
The molecular mechanisms behind this maladaptation are part of the research field of Heiko Lickert and his group at Helmholtz Munich and the Technical University of Munich. The scientists assume that intestinal stem cells play a special role in maladaptation. Using a mouse model, the researchers investigated the effects of a high-sugar and high-fat diet and compared it with a control group.
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