Fly Guts: We’re More Alike Than You Think
New studies of the stomachs of aging fruit flies may reveal the potential causes of stomach maladies that develop in humans as we age. Heinrich Jasper, PhD claims that having a healthy gut is linked to complex signal interaction between our immune cells and stem cells that line our intestines. Jasper studied the intestines of flies after they’ve been damaged and noticed that healthy regeneration in the gut relies on specific timing and the correct sequence occurring between cells when they respond to receiving an injury. Healing relies on a complex balancing act between cells in the stomach.
What disrupts the necessary timing of this complex signaling is the aging of cells. In essence, because we receive more and more injuries over time the cells lose their precision in the timing of their interactions, causing us to heal less and less over time. Jasper noticed that the fruit flies suffer from similar age-related stomach illnesses as humans do. By studying stem cell function in aging fruit flies, Jasper believes we can eventually understand and heal or cure many of the age-related diseases humans suffer from.
This shines a whole new light on these flies that we generally find annoying. Our similarities just may save humans from a lot of suffering. Maybe they deserve a little more respect from us. What do you think?