UMass study may lead to new treatments for digestive diseases — 3 points

In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Boston identified a new molecular pathway critical for maintaining the smooth muscle tone that allows the passage of materials through the digestive system, which may lead to new treatments for a host of digestive disorders, as reported by Gen News.

Rhongua ZhuGe, PhD, associate professor of microbiology and physiological systems at University of Massachusetts Medical School and a senior author of the study, and colleagues examined the internal anal sphincter that controls bowel continence in mice.

Here are three points:

1. The researchers found genetic deletion of the calcium-independent MLC phosphatase enzyme in the smooth muscle had no effect on the basal tone of the mouse sphincter.

2. Deletion of calcium-dependent MLC kinase enzyme essentially abolishes the basal tone and mice become incontinent as a result.

3. Experiments showed these local calcium releases have no direct role in muscle tone.

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