Characteristics of nerve-mediated epithelial responses in the human gut

Disturbances of the Enteric Nervous System (ENS) and various epithelial signal cascades can lead to misregulation of secretory events in the epithelium and contribute to the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal diseases. Research on the regulation of secretion by epithelial and neuro-epithelial pathways are of importance for the treatment of functional bowel diseases like irritable bowel disease (IBS). There are numerous studies in animal models concerning the interplay of neurons and the epithelium. However, the knowledge about these interactions in the human gut are limited.

We are therefore evaluating the basic mechanisms of epithelial responses in the human gut, paying special attention to region-specific differences

Effect of plant extracts in the human gut

Plants and plant extracts are used since thousands of years for the treatment and prevention of diseases. One goal of our research is the evaluation of the effect of phytoactive substances in the gut. Two of our projects in this respect deal with a commercially available phytopharmacon and a herbal recipe from the traditional chinese medicine:

Effects of Iberogast on secretion and motility of the human gut

Iberogast® is a commercially available formulation from nine herbal extracts. It is used successfully in the treatment of functional dyspepsia and clinical studies point to an ameliorating effect in patients with irritable bowel sysndrome (IBS). We use the Ussing-chamber to test the effects of Iberogast® on the secretion in the human gut and were able to demonstrate a secretory effect of Iberogast in human gut preparations and in the human epithelial cell line T84. Our current research focuses on the elucidation of the signal cascades that are responsible for these prosecretory actions.

With organ bath experiments we could show a spasmolytic effect of Iberogast® in the human gut which seems to be myogenic.

Mode of action of Dai-kenchu-to

Dai-kenchu-to (Da-Jian-Zhong-Tang) is a herbal remedy of the traditional chinese medicine. It consists of ginger, ginseng and szechuan (sichuan) pepper. Traditionally it is used as a prokinetic. As the mode of action is so far unknown, we investigate of Dai-kenchu-to and the individual extracts on secretion and motility of the human gut.