Decoding the Gut-Brain Axis to Develop Precision Medicines
The Gut-Brain Axis (GBA) is a network of physical, cellular, and biochemical systems between the central nervous system (CNS), enteric nervous system (ENS), immune system, and gastrointestinal (GI) tract that work in unison to maintain a state of homeostasis for both gastrointestinal functions such as the healthy status of our appetite, and CNS functions such as mental well-being.
The Twin Brains
The ENS and its network of nerves, neurons, and neurotransmitters that extend along the entire digestive tract relies on the same type of neurons and neurotransmitters that are found in the CNS and is often referred to as the “second brain.” This twin brain in our gut communicates with the brain in our head and plays a key role in many disorders.
What happens when GBA Homeostasis is disrupted?
Disruption of GBA homeostasis can be triggered by stress, infection, injury, genetic, environmental, and epigenetic factors. This leads to a cascade of biological events, including a protective immune-mediated inflammatory response in the gut, which is reinforced by signals from the brain.
Chronic inflammation is reinforced by signals from the brain, which leads to the recruitment of additional immune cells such as macrophages, mast cells, neutrophils, and several other cell types. This ultimately results in mucosal barrier damage, altered permeability, and, over time, can lead to fibrosis and is often accompanied with neuropsychological symptoms. For example, ulcerative colitis and Irritable bowel syndrome include symptoms of diarrhea or constipation, bleeding, and abdominal pain, as well as depression, anxiety, or cognitive impairment.
The perpetuation of a neuroinflammatory response leads to the resistance and partial response to many existing therapeutics
We are excited about the power of our platform and our capability to transform the therapeutic landscape of GI and hepatobiliary disorders impacted by the GBA