Magnetically Applied MicroRNAs Could Relieve Constipation in a Day

New tools could help patients with the side effect of opioid use such as constipation and aging. The article was published in the American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology in January, 2018. 

Using a new technique to deliver gene-therapy-like intervention researchers at Thomas Jefferson University increased or decreased the muscle tone of the anal sphincter in appropriate animal models. These studies could have implications in treating constipation or incontinence. Constipation is an underestimated and debilitating medical issue related to the opioid epidemic. Both constipation and incontinence have associated with the problems related to the regulation of a ring of smooth muscle around the anal opening termed, the internal anal sphincter.

Researchers used microRNAs to regulate the target gene RhoA/ROCK to strengthen or weaken the muscle tone of the sphincter. The investigators localized microRNAs to the ring of muscle by first injecting the microRNAs mixed with micro metal beads and then kept them localized to the sphincter with a magnet.

According to Opioid Induced Constipation Treatment Market report published by Coherent Market Insights, opioid-induced constipation is one of the most prevalent adverse effects connected with long-time use of opioids, which have a detrimental impact on the quality of life of the individual. This study reports innovative yet simple approach, which is more effective at keeping the microRNAs in the right place than injecting the microRNAs alone. However, further research is required to demonstrate whether the same principals hold true in humans without side effects.

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