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Understanding the role of the gut in undernutrition: what can technology tell us?

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Title: Understanding the role of the gut in undernutrition: what can technology tell us?
Authors: Thompson, A
Bourke, C
Robertson, R
Shivakumar, N
Edwards, C
Preston, T
Holmes, E
Paul, K
Gary, F
Douglas, M
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Gut function remains largely underinvestigated in undernutrition, despite its critical role in essential nutrient digestion, absorption and assimilation. In areas of high enteropathogen burden, alterations in gut barrier function and subsequent inflammatory effects are observable but remain poorly characterised. Environmental enteropathy (EE)—a condition that affects both gut morphology and function and is characterised by blunted villi, inflammation and increased permeability—is thought to play a role in impaired linear growth (stunting) and severe acute malnutrition. However, the lack of tools to quantitatively characterise gut functional capacity has hampered both our understanding of gut pathogenesis in undernutrition and evaluation of gut-targeted therapies to accelerate nutritional recovery. Here we survey the technology landscape for potential solutions to improve assessment of gut function, focussing on devices that could be deployed at point-of-care in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). We assess the potential for technological innovation to assess gut morphology, function, barrier integrity and immune response in undernutrition, and highlight the approaches that are currently most suitable for deployment and development. This article focuses on EE and undernutrition in LMICs, but many of these technologies may also become useful in monitoring of other gut pathologies.
Issue Date: 12-Jul-2021
Date of Acceptance: 4-May-2021
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/89623
DOI: 10.1136/gutjnl-2020-323609
ISSN: 0017-5749
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
Start Page: 1580
End Page: 1594
Journal / Book Title: Gut
Volume: 70
Issue: 8
Copyright Statement: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Sponsor/Funder: Medical Research Council (MRC)
National Institute of Health Research
Funder's Grant Number: MC_PC_MR/R019258/1
Keywords: gastrointestinal function
HUNGer Consortium
Gastroenterology & Hepatology
1103 Clinical Sciences
1114 Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine
Publication Status: Published
Online Publication Date: 2021-06-08
Appears in Collections:Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction
Department of Surgery and Cancer
Faculty of Medicine
Institute of Global Health Innovation

This item is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons