Volume 13 Issue 7, July 2016

Volume 13 Issue 7

Cover image supplied by S. Ferreira-Gonzalez and S.J. Forbes, MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Edinburgh, UK, who are funded by MRC and Principal’s Career Development Edinburgh University grants. Immunofluorescence image of ductular reaction in the liver. Tissue was stained to show marker of biliary differentiation keratin 19 (rat anti-troma III) and red fluorescent protein (rabbit anti-RFP). Nuclei were stained by DAPI.

Research Highlights

News and Views

  • News & Views |

    Altered patterns of gut microbiota maturation are associated with impaired growth and undernutrition in early childhood. A closer look at historical contingency and the ecological processes that determine microbial community assembly might enlighten strategies to restore a health-promoting gut ecosystem.

    • David A. Relman
  • News & Views |

    A new study reports that activation of neutrophils leads to the release of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) and coagulation, which then promote development of a tumorigenic microenvironment in the small intestine. These findings provide novel insights into the role of neutrophils in cancer and suggest enticing directions for future research.

    • Craig N. Jenne
    •  & Paul Kubes
  • News & Views |

    In a recent study, Kawada et al. conducted a retrospective analysis of paediatric patients who had undergone lower gastrointestinal endoscopy to evaluate its use as a diagnostic tool. This under-studied area deserves critique within a modern framework of expectation for the routine yield for this invasive investigation in standard paediatric gastroenterology practice.

    • Mike Thomson
  • News & Views |

    Subclassification of colorectal cancers can inform patient prognosis and response to treatment. Beyond these functions, a recent study demonstrates that molecular subtyping can also play an important part in rational drug discovery, uncovering new indications for drugs previously thought ineffective.

    • Axel Grothey
    •  & Lee M. Ellis
  • News & Views |

    Research has highlighted the importance of the stroma in pancreatic cancer, in particular the role of complex interactions between cancer and stromal cells. A new study describes a novel mechanism by which stromal pathways can be modulated to inhibit tumour growth. The findings support the concept that a multipronged therapeutic approach targeting pancreatic cancer cells and cancer stroma could improve clinical outcomes for this disease.

    • Minoti V. Apte
    •  & Jeremy S. Wilson
  • News & Views |

    A recent study reports on drug clearance in newborn babies after in utero exposure to anti-TNF antibodies, infliximab and adalimumab. As women with IBD are increasingly exposed to these drugs due to changing treatment paradigms and earlier diagnosis, this commentary explores these clinically important results.

    • C. Janneke van der Woude
    •  & Shannon L. Kanis


  • Review Article |

    Upper gastrointestinal tract function is regulated by vagovagal neurocircuits, comprising brainstem nuclei that integrate visceral sensory information and provide vagal motor output. Here, Travagli and Anselmi describe the organization of these neurocircuits and their plasticity in response to stressors. The influence of gastrointestinal peptides on vagovagal neurons is also discussed.

    • R. Alberto Travagli
    •  & Laura Anselmi
  • Review Article |

    Elastography techniques for the noninvasive assessment of liver fibrosis, disease severity and prognosis are increasingly included in guidelines and clinical practice. In this Review, the authors summarize the problems of noninvasive tests in general, and provide an overview on available techniques and developments in liver elastography.

    • Mireen Friedrich-Rust
    • , Thierry Poynard
    •  & Laurent Castera
  • Review Article |

    This Review discusses the mechanisms via which changes in the gut can influence the development and progression of NAFLD. Understanding of such mechanisms is hoped to pave the way for new treatments for what has become the most common form of liver disease.

    • Christopher Leung
    • , Leni Rivera
    • , John B. Furness
    •  & Peter W. Angus


    Science and society

  • Science and Society |

    Globally, alcohol is the biggest single preventable factor causing premature death and disability in adults aged 15–49 years. In this Perspective, Gilmore and colleagues summarize the evidence behind alcohol-related public health policies, including those targeting price, availability and marketing of alcohol, and assess their effectiveness.

    • William Gilmore
    • , Tanya Chikritzhs
    • , Tim Stockwell
    • , David Jernigan
    • , Timothy Naimi
    •  & Ian Gilmore