Specific Compounds Secreted in the Gut Offer Early Indicator of Gut Health Issues

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Farmscape for June 24, 2022

Full Interview 17:01 Listen

Researchers with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine are assessing compounds secreted in the gut that offer the potential to be used as an early indicator of developing gut health issues. Researchers with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine are examining factors related to the health of the gut of the pig and to identify markers that will indicate developing problems. Dr. Matheus Costa, an Assistant Professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and an adjunct professor with Utrecht University, says researchers are focusing on the effect of infectious disease on gut health.

Clip-Dr. Matheus Costa-Western College of Veterinary Medicine:
What we have learned in the past few years is that there are a few markers. One of these markers is an enzyme that’s been known for a while.
It is actually employed in human medicine for the control and observation of patents who have inflammatory bowel disease and it’s call Calprotectin. So, Calprotectin is an enzyme that the immune cells will secrete. Those immune cells are what we would call the first line of immune cells, so the first ones to get to the battlefield, they’re the first ones to have to engage in action and they release this enzyme.
We believe that this would be a good strategy so that we know when something is early on. One of the pitfalls of that though is that this enzyme, while it’s secreted in the gut and, if it’s secreted to close to the stomach, it will disappear as it goes through the gut just because it’s degraded like everything else that goes through it. So, it’s a good marker of what we would call a distal gut disease, so colon, so large intestine, but it may not be a very good marker of small intestine so we’re investigating now what can we do to improve our understanding and find markers of small intestine disease. But we believe we have a good lead on a marker that tells us about large intestine health.

Dr. Costa says studies have shown that, during episodes of gut infection, these markers do indicate a problem and have potential to be used to trigger action before it’s too late.

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