TUM – Technical University of Munich Menu
  • Research news

TUM is part of an international consortium to investigate colon functions

$7.5 million NIH grant for exploration of the colon

Professor Michael Schemann from the Department of Human Biology at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is part of a consortium that intends to investigate the role of nerves in normal and diseased colon functions over the next three years. The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Health through the National Institute of Health (NIH). A success for TUM, as NIH research funds are difficult to come by, even for U.S. scientists.

More than a fifth of the world’s population suffers from colon disorders. However, the development of these functional disorders is still largely unexplained, making treatment difficult. In particular, disorders in the innervation of the colon cause diseases such as chronic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases, but also symptoms that occur in spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease, and more frequently in elderly patients. In addition to optimize pharmaceuticals, the research consortium also wants to develop microimplants for the electrostimulation of the intestinal nerves to treat colon dysfunctions. Initial clinical studies show the positive effect of nerve stimulation in patients with Crohn’s disease.

Leading international luminaries are driving this research project forward

A total of eleven internationally recognized experts in the field of neurogastroenterology are collaborating on this NIH-funded project, only two of whom are conducting research outside the USA. Together, they will investigate the mechanisms of nervous control of the colon on a molecular, cellular, and functional level. The research questions will be studied directly on human samples. At the same time, the researchers aim to develop animal models which closely resemble colonic functions in humans in order to improve translation into the clinic.

The task facing the TUM researchers will be to characterize the sensory circuits in the human colon, in particular their role in mucosal functions. The Department of Human Biology specializes in functional examinations and the neuroimaging of samples from the human colon. The researchers have thus established a unique selling point for themselves internationally, which has also been recognized by the NIH.

The spokesperson for the consortium is Professor Yvette Taché from the University of California, Los Angeles. Funding is being provided under the NIH program “Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions” (SPARC), which is dedicated to research into the control of organ functions by central nervous system and autonomic nerves.

Contact:

Prof. Dr. Michael Schemann
Technical University of Munich
Chair for Human Biology
Phone: +49/8161/71 5483
Mail: schemann(at)wzw.tum.de

Corporate Communications Center

Technical University of Munich

Article at tum.de

Mithilfe der Proteomanalyse konnten 204 Proteine identifiziert werden, deren Konzentration in den Reizdarm-Überständen anders aussahen als in den Biopsien der anderen Probanden. (Bild: PLOS)

Biomarkers for irritable bowel syndrome

Little is still known about the exact causes of irritable bowel syndrome. An international team with significant involvement from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has provided initial clues about the organic...

Die Autoren der Studie unterhalten sich in einem Labor.

Protection for the gut barrier

Stem cell transplants can save lives, for example in patients with leukemia. However, these treatments are not free of risks. One complication that may occur is graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), basically donor-derived...

Ein Ganglion im menschlichen Darm, in dem Nervenaktivität über ein bildgebendes Verfahren nach Gabe des Anti-HuD-Serums registriert wurde. Die Nervenaktivität ist rot: Zu sehen sind aktive Nervenzellen. Die schwarzen Pfeile markieren einige der aktivierten Nervenzellen. Das Inlet (rote Kurve) zeigt die Antwort einer Nervenzelle nach Gabe des Serums (schwarzer Balken unter der Kurve). Der Anti-HuD-Antikörper löst eine Aktionspotentialentladung (Kurvenausschläge nach oben) aus. (Abb.: Schemann, Michel/ TUM)

Antibodies as ‘messengers’ in the nervous system

Antibodies are able to activate human nerve cells within milliseconds and hence modify their function — that is the surprising conclusion of a study carried out at Human Biology at the Technical University of Munich (TUM)....

Dagmar Krüger vom Lehrstuhl für Humanbiologie der TUM hat über einen Zeitraum von acht Jahren mehr als 2200 Proben von rund 450 Patienten mit Darmerkrankungen untersucht. (Foto: TUM/ A. Eckert)

The gut: performing into old age

A breakthrough in basic research and the first comprehensive study on the secretory activity of the human intestine: over a period of eight years, Dr. Dagmar Krüger of the Department of Human Biology at TU Munich has...

Das Reizdarmsyndrom geht mit typischen Symptomen wie Bauchweh oder Krämpfen einher. Lange war gemutmaßt worden, dass es eine psychosomatische Störung ist. (Foto: iStock/SomkiatFakmee)

Insensitive irritable bowel syndrome

For the first time, biopsies of patients with irritable bowel syndrome have shown that the nerves in their gut wall respond poorly to a cocktail of inflammatory substances. This refutes the previous theory that patients...

Viertelmillimeter große Organoide haben essentielle Funktionen eines echten Darms. (Foto: TUM/ Zietek)

Mini-intestine grown in a test tube

The ability to grow three-dimensional precursors of an organ from stem cells in a Petri dish has brought about a revolution in the field of biomedicine. But exactly what can be researched on such an organoid in vitro? A...