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Associate Professor of Medicine Depts. of Gastroenterology & Neurobiology, Duke University

Research Summary

Diego Bohórquez and his colleagues developed a transgenic mouse in which enteroendocrine cells of the distal ileum and colon are fluorescent and discovered prominent cytoplasmic appendages in these cells. Dr. Bohórquez subsequently coined the term neuropod to refer to these appendages.  The development of this transgenic mouse model helped to identify, isolate, and study these gut sensory epithelial cells. In September 2018, his laboratory published an article in Science documenting a new mechanism for the gut to transduce a sense to the brain in milliseconds. This newly uncovered sensory transduction mechanism uses glutamate as a neurotransmitter. It involves a synapse between enteroendocrine cells and vagal neurons. This research has been widely cited in the scientific and popular press.
Relevance of Research to CGIBD Mission:  Dr. Bohorquez identified a gut brain neuro epithelial circuit that  may modulate brain function and behavior,  The research is relevant to the mission of the CGIBD and to the understanding of important digestive disorders.
Pilot/Feasibility Award 2015
CGIBD Focus Area(s):  Regeneration/Repair