Researchers discover how gut muscle can be vital for growth, repair and treatments

Cornell scientists have discovered how intestinal smooth muscle forms, which is essential for absorbing dietary fats. The smooth muscle helps squeeze absorbed fats into the bloodstream to produce energy. The study, published in Developmental Cell, revealed that this muscle originates from specialized stem cells called fibroblasts and transitions into myofibroblasts before becoming smooth muscle. Understanding this process could lead to the development of artificial muscle, treatment for inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, and fibrosis. Additionally, researchers identified a pathway that ensures proper alignment of intestinal smooth muscle cells with lacteal cells for optimal fat absorption. This groundbreaking research opens doors for potential medical advancements.

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