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Are mas-related gene receptors involved in irritable bowel syndrome?

Mas-related gene receptors (Mrg) form a family of G-protein coupled receptors that has been implicated in nociception and mast cell activation. Previous work from our research group points towards a strong plasticity and role of the Mrg receptor family in intestinal inflammation. We now want to explore whether expressional changes of the Mrg receptor family are specific to inflammatory bowel disorders or also occur in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). One of the presumed pathogenesis mechanisms for IBS is a perturbed neuro-immune interaction between neurons and mast cells, the two cell types that mainly express Mrg receptors. We will follow two parallel research paths. Firstly, we will employ a maternal separation stress model in mice, known to induce visceral hypersensitivity, as an animal model for IBS. Secondly, we will study human biopsy material from IBS patients versus healthy controls. In both the animal and the human study, we will examine Mrg expression using quantitative PCR and immunohistochemical techniques. This strategy will on one hand allow us to evaluate the translational possibilities of the animal model, given that there are some differences between Mrg receptors in mice and human, and on the other hand for the first time shed light on the expression of Mrg receptors in IBS. The fundamental research project at hand will allow us to ascertain if Mrg receptors are valuable targets in therapy or diagnosis and forms a basis for further functional studies.
Date:1 Feb 2013 →  31 Dec 2013
Disciplines:Gastro-enterology and hepatology, Morphological sciences