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AKU researchers use stem cells to study malnutrition

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Karachi:

Researchers at the University of Aga Khan are using the power of stem cells to create new insights into how malnutrition occurs. According to the 2018 National Nutrition Survey, malnutrition is a major public health problem in developing countries, with four in ten children under the age of five suffering from stunting in Pakistan and one in three children. Is underweight.

AKU’s statement related to the study states that unsanitary environment, polluted water, inadequate diet, and poor health of pregnant pregnant women are some of the major factors leading to environmental bowel syndrome or EE. It states that there is. This is a poorly understood intermediate state characterized by intestinal inflammation that leads to chronic malnutrition.

Existing studies have extensively documented the causes and shed light on the structural and genetic differences between healthy and malnourished intestines. However, until now, researchers have been unable to investigate how EE develops at the cellular level, especially in young children.

The Juma Institute at the University of Aga Khan has succeeded in growing the intestine and small intestine from intestinal biopsy tissue.

“Stem cell technology has allowed us to successfully grow intestinal organoids, the small intestine, from the tissues of malnourished children,” said Dr. Junaid Ikubal of AKU. “This is an experiment to investigate the process of illness, study intestinal infections and vaccine failures in malnourished children, and identify various treatment strategies to reverse the effects of environmental bowel syndrome. We provide an excellent model for safe implementation. ”

As an extension of their study, AKU faculty members will work with researchers at the University of Virginia to study the effects of Covid-19 infection on malnourished intestines, one of the first such studies in the world. ..

Recent studies on coronavirus have shown that the ACE-2 receptor, a protein that provides a pathway for the virus to enter the cells of the body, is present in both the respiratory system and the intestine. This means that the coronavirus can also infect and multiply in the intestines. This may explain the symptoms of Covid-19, such as upset stomach and malaise.

In this study, researchers expose various enteritis to the virus and investigate how Covid-19 grows in the intestine. They also conduct studies to understand the dynamics of infection in young and old people and to determine how well malnourished intestines can protect against the virus.

Posted on Express Tribune on February 23rd, 2021.

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