Scientists Discover a New Role of Glial Cells in the Nervous System of the Gut

In the US, about 30 million people are living with gut motility disorders. The medical research aims to study possible causes of gut motility disorders, find mechanisms of the development of disease and find ways to treat these conditions. Also, the research aims to study how the intestinal nervous system functions and how it influences the motility functions of the digestive system.

Stomach Pain

Stomach Pain

Gut motility disorders are a group of disorders in which the normal movements of peristalsis that help move the food along the digestive system, are impaired. There is a wide range of these disorders that affect one or more parts of the digestive system and some of them may have multifactorial causes.

Read Also: Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Vitamin D Offers No Benefits for the Treatment of IBS

Usually, they can be due to a muscular or a neurological issue or lack of coordination between the muscles and the nerves in the gut. Also, they can be caused by dysfunction of the intestinal nervous system.

Study and its findings

Recently, a paper was published by the researchers at Michigan State University in which scientists discovered a new function of glial cells in the intestinal nervous system. They found out that glial cells play a significant role in detecting and modulating the nerve pathways in the enteric nervous system. Previously, it was known in medicine that these cells only provided a supporting function to neuronal cells in the intestinal neural circuits.

According to researchers involved in this paper, most people are not even aware that there is a nervous system in their gut and its functions can be independent of the central nervous system.

Read Also: Removing Biofilm from the Intestines Could Cure Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

The intestines contain an extensive network of glial cells and neuronal cells

Neurons are involved in conducting electrical impulses throughout the nervous system. In contrast to that, glial cells are not directly involved in the conduction of electrical impulses. However, they do play a role in electrical conduction in the gut.

In this study, the finding that glial cells do, in fact, alter the electrical impulses in neurons is rather new. It means that glial cells play a significant role in electrical impulse conduction in the intestinal nervous system by modulating it.

Researchers learned that glial cells act in a very specific way to influence the electrical signals carried by neurons. Their function plays a key role in ensuring that electrical activity is functioning normally and they make significant changes in electrical impulse conduction. Their newly discovered role changes the previous scientific understanding of how the intestinal nervous system functions and what role do glial cells play in it.

Read Also: IBS Breakthrough: Eliminating the Bacteria Brachyspira May Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Significance of this discovery

This discovery will help understand the functioning of the intestinal nervous system from a new perspective and also, may help find new targets for pharmaceutical research. Also, it may help in understanding the process of development of disease in disorders in which there is dysfunction of the enteric nervous system like motility disorders. It will possibly direct research towards finding treatments for these disorders too. Although scientists believe that it will be too early to foresee this finding’s potential in treating motility and other intestinal disorders, they believe that the scientific aim should be understanding the role of glial cells in the intestinal nervous system completely before research can be directed towards finding potential treatments.

Read Also: Gilmore Health: A Q&A Session on IBS With Dr. Sony Sherpa


The authors of this study are Muhammad M. Ahmed Zai, Brian D.Gulbransen, and Luisa Seguella from the Department of Physiology at Michigan State University.


Circuit-specific enteric glia regulate intestinal motor neurocircuits, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Accessed October 7, 2021,

Articles you may like:

7 Diseases That Are Transmitted through Tick Bites That You Should Be Aware Of

Burnout Latest Facts: Causes, Risk Factors, Symptoms, Treatment and How to Protect Yourself at Work?

HGH Dosages Currently Being Used for Anti Aging, Weight Loss, and Bodybuilding

Health Insurance: Why It Is Important to Be Insured All the Time

Grow Taller

Vaping: Not as Safe as You Think

Chronic Pain Can Lead To Anxiety and Depression According to NeuRA Study

VigRX Plus: Counterfeits are in The Market Warns Leading Edge Health

Giving Employees the Possibility to Take a 30 Minute Nap Improves Productivity

Global Food Security: Climate Change Is Likely to Cause More Plant Diseases Which Will Affect Crop Yield

HGH Benefits: A list of What to Expect From Using Human Growth Hormone (Somatropin)

Vaccination rates below 90% Could Paradoxically Promote the Emergence of Resistant Variants

Nightmare Scenario: Could the Current Poorly Implemented Vaccination Campaign Lead to More Deadly SARS-CoV-2 Strains

Drinking Too Much Coffee Can Reduce Brain Size, and Cause Dementia

Possible Causes of the Sudden Fall In COVID-19 Infections in the UK and Europe

SARS-CoV-2 Transmissibility: Can You Really Catch COVID-19 through Flatulence (Farts)?

Moderna and Pfizer’s mRNA Vaccines Do Not Make Straight Men Gay

Gilmore Health

Coronavirus: The Real and False Side Effects of COVID-19 Vaccines


Genf20 Plus Reviews

Growth Factor Plus Reviews



Want to Stay Informed?

Join the Gilmore Health News Newsletter!

Want to live your best life?

Get the Gilmore Health Weekly newsletter for health tips, wellness updates and more.

By clicking "Subscribe," I agree to the Gilmore Health and . I also agree to receive emails from Gilmore Health and I understand that I may opt out of Gilmore Health subscriptions at any time.