News & Comment

  • News & Views |

    The enteric nervous system (ENS) is an important component of gastrointestinal function and a pivotal hub connecting the gut to other organs. A new study now explores the human and mouse ENS at the single-cell level, providing key insights into the transcriptomic landscape of the ENS and its constituent cells.

    • Ana Carina Bon-Frauches
    •  & Werend Boesmans
  • News & Views |

    A new study sheds further light on the interplay between environmental stimuli, the gut microbiota and intestinal inflammation. Identification of modifiable environmental triggers and the mechanisms by which they act has implications for the prevention and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

    • Charlie W. Lees
  • Comment |

    To therapeutically modulate gut microbial ecosystems, a better understanding of gut ecology is key. High-throughput in vitro ecology provides a tool with the necessary power to address these needs and interpersonal treatment response variation.

    • Emma Hernandez-Sanabria
    • , Jorge Francisco Vázquez-Castellanos
    •  & Jeroen Raes
  • News & Views |

    Liver biopsy sample evaluation is an essential part of clinical studies in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and is key in excluding confounding morbidities. Current scoring systems, which are decisive for study inclusion, rely on imprecisely defined histological features, leading to a high observer variability of disease categorization. In this News & Views, measures to overcome these limitations are discussed.

    • Thomas Longerich
    •  & Peter Schirmacher
  • Editorial |

    The repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic go far beyond the disease itself, and cannot be overlooked. The gastroenterology and hepatology community has adapted quickly, but resilience and collaboration will be key to address future uncertainty.

  • News & Views |

    Vagus nerve stimulation has shown promise in treating inflammatory bowel disease. A new study identifies a hepatic vagal branch pathway necessary to maintain colonic immune cell homeostasis in experimental colitis, challenging the dogma that an anti-inflammatory reflex requires an intact spleen and that α7-nicotinic receptor agonists are a panacea for inflammatory conditions.

    • Alan de Araujo
    •  & Guillaume de Lartigue
  • Comment |

    Structural racism in academia and academic medicine is destructive to science and society. To deny its existence is to fertilize the soil in which it thrives. Uprooting it demands, at the very least, a fundamental transformation in institutional education, policies, practices and resource allocation with sustained anti-racist actions.

    • Darrell M. Gray II
    • , Joshua J. Joseph
    • , Autumn R. Glover
    •  & J. Nwando Olayiwola
  • Comment |

    The effect of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on liver transplantation programmes and recipients is still not completely understood but overall involves the risk of donor-derived transmission, the reliability of diagnostic tests, health-care resource utilization and the effect of immunosuppression. This Comment reviews the effect of COVID-19 on liver transplantation and summarizes recommendations for donor and recipient management.

    • Tommaso Di Maira
    •  & Marina Berenguer
  • Comment |

    Data based on next-generation sequencing (NGS) of colorectal cancers (CRC) clearly show that up to 10% of all cases harbour pathogenic variants. Thus, NGS performed for all patients with CRC under the age of 50 could be a cost-effective strategy, leading to a personalized approach to patients and family members.

    • Luigi Laghi
    •  & Luigi Ricciardiello
  • Comment |

    Deep learning can mine clinically useful information from histology. In gastrointestinal and liver cancer, such algorithms can predict survival and molecular alterations. Once pathology workflows are widely digitized, these methods could be used as inexpensive biomarkers. However, clinical translation requires training interdisciplinary researchers in both programming and clinical applications.

    • Jakob N. Kather
    •  & Julien Calderaro
  • News & Views |

    Pancreatic cancer is notorious for its affinity for invading nerves. A new study using a systematic unbiased RNA-interference screen of neuronal chemokines in cocultures of mouse sensory neurons and pancreatic cancer cells has now identified CCL21 and CXCL10 as key mediators of neural invasion, neural remodelling and pain in pancreatic cancer.

    • Ihsan Ekin Demir
    •  & Carmen Mota Reyes
  • Comment |

    The gastrointestinal tract represents a target organ for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), warranting a thorough discussion on the consequences, particularly regarding inflammatory bowel diseases. Here, aspects of gastrointestinal involvement with SARS-CoV-2, the role of viruses as modulators of mucosal immunity and as treatment-related safety hazards, and the current clinical evidence will be discussed.

    • Alexander R. Moschen
  • Comment |

    Greater than the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis, systemic inequity in social determinants of health is the pandemic that has long fostered vulnerability to disease and poor health outcomes in the USA. Our response has major implications for the health of our nations.

    • Darrell M. Gray II
    • , Adjoa Anyane-Yeboa
    • , Sophie Balzora
    • , Rachel B. Issaka
    •  & Folasade P. May
  • Comment |

    Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) itself and/or the use of hepatotoxic drugs might negatively affect the course and management of patients with pre-existing chronic liver diseases. However, the greatest effect of COVID-19 on liver diseases will be indirect and delayed, resulting from the impending global economic crisis.

    • Jean-Michel Pawlotsky
  • Comment |

    On ‘International NASH Day’, we launch a call for the global health community to collaboratively shape and deliver a comprehensive, long-term public health agenda for NAFLD. A global multidisciplinary coalition is needed to guide our response to this increasingly prevalent, yet underaddressed disease.

    • Jeffrey V. Lazarus
    • , Massimo Colombo
    • , Helena Cortez-Pinto
    • , Terry T. -K. Huang
    • , Veronica Miller
    • , Michael Ninburg
    • , Jörn M. Schattenberg
    • , Lynn Seim
    • , Vincent W. S. Wong
    •  & Shira Zelber-Sagi
  • Comment |

    The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 has undeniably affected modalities of medical and gastroenterology training in all endemic areas. Indeed, the adoption of various distance-learning techniques has been mandatory to facilitate education and enhance skills such as problem-solving, self-directed learning, open communication and also holistic non-cognitive attributes such as adaptability and collaboration.

    • Brigida Barberio
    • , Davide Massimi
    • , Anna Dipace
    • , Fabiana Zingone
    • , Fabio Farinati
    •  & Edoardo V. Savarino
  • Comment |

    During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) practices have been disrupted. This Comment summarizes the key strategies that should be implemented for both patients and IBD specialists to provide optimal care while avoiding new outbreaks for the first 6–12 months after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    • Silvio Danese
    • , Bruce Sands
    • , Siew C. Ng
    •  & Laurent Peyrin-Biroulet
  • News & Views |

    Most patients who undergo curative intent surgery for pancreatic cancer will still die of recurrent disease. A new study shows that pancreatic tumours that pass through the genetic bottlenecks of surgery and additional chemoradiotherapy have altered mutational signatures, driver genes and subclonal architecture.

    • Irene Y. Xie
    •  & Steven Gallinger
  • News & Views |

    A mountable ‘smart’ toilet system has been developed to personalize health monitoring. The system uses excretion data, including urinalysis, urodynamics, stool form and defecation timing, stored in a cloud server. This smart toilet system has the potential to provide useful information to characterize symptoms of patients with bowel dysfunction or defecatory disorders.

    • Xiao Jing Wang
    •  & Michael Camilleri
  • News & Views |

    Obesity is a known risk factor for pancreatic cancer. Now, a new study reports that obesity accelerates early pancreatic cancer development and growth in mice through local perturbations in the pancreatic microenvironment and implicates pancreatic islet-derived cholecystokinin as a driving factor.

    • Guido Eibl
  • News & Views |

    Two new position papers convincingly propose that nonalcoholic fatty liver disease needs a new name — metabolic associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD). A new name for this disease affecting nearly one billion people globally is overdue, as knowledge gained from the past decades has assuringly demonstrated that MAFLD is a purely metabolic disorder.

    • Herbert Tilg
    •  & Maria Effenberger
  • Comment |

    The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting and changing the daily practice of gastrointestinal endoscopy worldwide. To protect patients and endoscopy unit personnel, endoscopy units have had to postpone a large proportion of endoscopic procedures. These delays might have an effect on the screening for and surveillance of digestive cancers.

    • Ian M. Gralnek
    • , Cesare Hassan
    •  & Mario Dinis-Ribeiro
  • News & Views |

    Details about IgE-producing B cells in the gut in the context of food allergy are scarce, despite the frequent exposure of the gut and its associated lymphoid tissues to dietary antigens. A new study finds that IgE-producing B cells are enriched in gut tissues and are probably generated from local antibody isotype switching.

    • Onyinye I. Iweala
    •  & A. Wesley Burks
  • News & Views |

    The microbial communities that occupy the intestinal tract are shaped by a variety of different factors, including the immune system. A new study has observed and quantified, at unprecedented depth, regionally distinct microbial and immune niches along the human colon using simultaneous analyses of the gut microbiota and neighbouring immune cells.

    • Rebecca N. Culver
    • , Sean P. Spencer
    •  & Kerwyn Casey Huang
  • News & Views |

    Colibactin-producing bacteria are abundant in the gut microbiota of colorectal cancer tumours and promote colon tumorigenesis in mouse models. Now, a new study demonstrates a direct link between exposure of human intestinal epithelial cells to colibactin and two unique mutational fingerprints found in human colorectal tumours.

    • Janelle C. Arthur