The brain of an 11 day old mouse exposed to experimental necrotizing enterocolitis with reactive oxygen species (causing oxidative stress and brain damage) in red. Image: David Hackam
Cause of, and cure for, a gut-brain disease have been found in mice - health short science news

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a potentially fatal disease that causes a premature infant’s gut to suddenly die, and induces brain injury.

Using a mouse model of NEC, researchers found that levels of the protein TLR4 remain high in the gut of offspring born prematurely, instead of dropping after full-term delivery. This protein in NEC guts causes the release of another protein, HMGB1. This protein, generated by TLR4 in an inflamed gut in NEC, is the cause of NEC-associated brain injury. When NEC mice received antioxidants in their brains, they did not develop brain injury.

Now that its molecular underpinnings are known, there is hope that NEC treatments can finally be developed.

Read the full story: Johns Hopkins University
Scientific publication: Science Translational Medicine