Magnetically applied MicroRNAs could one day help relieve constipation

January 16, 2018

Constipation is an underestimated and debilitating medical issue related to the opioid epidemic. As a growing concern, researchers look to new tools to help patients with this side effect of opioid use and aging.

Both constipation and incontinence, although multifactorial, have also been associated with the problems related to the regulation of a ring of smooth muscle around the anal opening termed, the internal anal sphincter. Unlike the way we can clench muscles just by thinking about them, smooth muscle is a type of muscle that we can't control with our thoughts. Using a new technique to deliver gene-therapy-like intervention directly where it's needed, researchers at Thomas Jefferson University successfully increased or decreased the muscle tone of the anal sphincter in appropriate animal models. These studies could have implications in treating constipation or incontinence.

The article was published in the American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology.

Dr. Satish Rattan, Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Jefferson's Sidney Kimmel Medical College, together with Drs. Jagmohan Singh and Ipsita Mohanty, used altered copies of the body's own genetic make-up - small RNA fragments (microRNAs) that regulate the target gene RhoA/ROCK - in order to strengthen or weaken the muscle tone of the sphincter. (Dr. Rattan's lab had shown earlier that changing RhoA/ROCK gene expression could alter smooth muscle tone.) But rather than simply inject the agent, where it could have spread through the tissue to affect other regions, the investigators kept the microRNAs localized to the ring of muscle. They did this by first injecting the microRNAs mixed with micro metal beads, and then kept them localized to the sphincter with a magnet. This innovative yet simple approach was more effective at keeping the microRNAs in the right place than injecting the microRNAs alone.

Because sphincters also help keep food in the stomach from rising up the esophagus, using a similar approach has additional implications in the lower esophageal sphincter where its localized stimulation could help prevent acid reflux in difficult-to-treat cases. First, however, the researchers will have to demonstrate whether the same principals hold true in humans, without side effects.
-end-
The authors report no conflicts of interest. The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health NIDDK Grant RO1DK035385

Article reference: J Singh, et al., "In vivo magnetofection: a novel approach for targeted 2 topical delivery of nucleic acids for rectoanal motility 3 disorders," Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol, DOI:10.1152/ajpgi.00233.2017.

Thomas Jefferson University

Related Micrornas Articles from Brightsurf:

Breaking it down: How cells degrade unwanted micrornas
UT Southwestern researchers have discovered a mechanism that cells use to degrade microRNAs (miRNAs), genetic molecules that regulate the amounts of proteins in cells.

Is the COVID-19 virus pathogenic because it depletes specific host microRNAs?
Why is the COVID-19 virus deadly, while many other coronaviruses just cause colds?

Intracellular biopsy technique for fast microRNAs profiling in living cells
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are gaining more attention in researches. To achieve fast and highly sensitive profiling of miRNAs, a research team from City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has developed a novel high-throughput intracellular biopsy technique that isolates targeted miRNAs from living cells within around 10 minutes by using diamond nanoneedles.

The function of new microRNAs are identified in Salmonella and Shigella infections
The research, published in Nature Microbiology, could help the search for more effective medicine and delves deeper into understanding the role of microRNAs in gene expression.

Protecting damaged hearts with microRNAs
Once the heart is formed, its muscle cells have very limited ability to regenerate.

A role for microRNAs in social behavior
Researchers have uncovered a microRNA cluster that regulates synaptic strength and is involved in the control of social behavior in mammals.

Genomic study finds a new role for microRNAs as predictors of Crohn's disease progression
A new study led by UNC School of Medicine researchers and has found that a set of biomolecules known as microRNAs, specifically microRNA-31 (miR-31), can help predict which patients with Crohn's disease are at higher risk for the development of severe problems that may require surgical removal of the large intestine.

Treating inflammatory bowel disorder by delivering microRNAs
Osaka University researchers efficiently delivered miRNAs to immune response cells in inflamed intestinal tracts using a super carbonate apatite (sCA), which had been shown to be highly effective in the delivery of nucleic acids to solid tumors, demonstrating the efficacy of sCA in the prevention and treatment of colitis in mice.

New screening approach reveals importance of microRNAs in papillomavirus life cycle
The discovery of microRNAs encoded by papillomaviruses supports the important role of these small molecules in persistent infection, according to a study published July 26 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens.

Magnetically applied MicroRNAs could one day help relieve constipation
Micro metal beads and magnets help deliver a biologic where it's needed to improve constipation or rectoanal incontinence in animal models of the disorders.

Read More: Micrornas News and Micrornas Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.