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See Inside Scientific American Mind Volume 24, Issue 1

Clumps of Neurons Help Scientists Study Gut Disorders

neurospheres, glia, motility disorders



COURTESY OF DIPA NATARAJAN University College London AND RANIA KRONFLI Royal Hospital for Sick Children

These neurospheres—free-floating balls of glia (red), neurons (green) and stem cells—were cultivated in a lab from stem cells taken from the intestine or stomach of a mouse. Researchers use the neurospheres to test treatments for gut motility disorders, in which portions of the intestine, sometimes referred to as the second brain, lack sufficient nerve cells to function properly.

This article was originally published with the title "Sphere of Influence."

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