Journal: Nature Communications
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Intestinal cells implicated in fat absorption
© STEVEN MCDOWELL/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty
Newly discovered connective cells in the gut play a crucial role in the absorption of dietary fats.
A team led by researchers from the Institute for Basic Science in South Korea has identified five subgroups of cells — three of which were previously unknown — in the finger-like projections known as villi that line the small intestines.
Each cell type responds to mechanical cues and osmotic stresses in the gut by activating regulatory proteins that promote the secretion of a growth factor involved in maintaining the growth of specialized lymph capillaries, called lacteals, that help with the uptake of digested fats.
These findings highlight the important role that proper signalling between intestinal cells plays in maintaining normal gut function and nutrient transport. They also reveal new cell types that might be implicated in disorders of fat metabolism.
- Nature Communications 11, 4102 (2020). doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-17886-y