The Gut-Brain connection
Researchers designed a technology that allows them to probe and control the neural circuits between the gut and brain, demonstrating their ability to influence feelings of fullness or reward-seeking behavior in mice.
The interface used flexible fibers embedded with sensors, temperature sensors, and light sources for optogenetic stimulation. The aim is to use this technology to explore the links between digestive health and neurological conditions such as autism and Parkinson's disease.
This work opens up the potential to manage these conditions by manipulating peripheral circuits in a non-invasive way.
MIT researchers have developed a technology that uses sensor-embedded fibers to control neural circuits between the gut and brain, affecting feeding behaviors in mice.
This technology could offer insights into the correlation between digestive health and neurological conditions such as autism and Parkinson's disease.
The research holds the promise of managing neurological conditions in a non-invasive way by manipulating peripheral circuits.
The brain and the digestive tract are in constant communication, relaying signals that help to control feeding and other behaviors. This extensive communication network also influences our mental state and has been implicated in many neurological disorders.
MIT engineers have now designed a new technology that can be used to probe those connections.
Using fibers embedded with a variety of sensors, as well as light sources for optogenetic stimulation, the researchers have shown that they can control neural circuits connecting the gut and the brain, in mice.
In this new study, the researchers demonstrated that they could induce feelings of fullness or reward-seeking behavior in mice by manipulating cells of the intestine.
In future work, they hope to explore some of the correlations that have been observed between digestive health and neurological conditions such as autism and Parkinson's disease.