Mapping the activity of genes in different sections of the intestine as it heals after damage like inflammation
Our gut is a complex and diverse organ made up of many specialised compartments and cell types. But how the colon changes when healing after injury, for example with inflammatory bowel diseases, isn’t understood. Researchers compared the colons of healthy mice (left column) with those who had been suffering with colitis – an inflammation of the colon – for a week followed by a week to heal from the damage (right column; colons have been furled like ‘Swiss rolls’). Histological staining shows the structures of the colon (top row), but the researchers then used a technique called spatial transcriptomics to map what genes were active in each section of the colon during the healing response (bottom row). This ‘gut map’ is a useful tool to further study the specific genes and signalling pathways identified that may play pivotal roles in response to damage in certain regions of the gut.
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