Hand Published in Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Pitt Pediatrics congratulates Tim Hand, PhD, for his recent publication in Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology (CMGH), titled, “Excess dietary sugar alters colonocyte metabolism and impairs the proliferative response to damage.” Hand is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Disease and the Director of the Gnotobiotic Animal Core Laboratory, as well as an RK Mellon Foundation Scholar. He was also recently elected to a leadership role in the Society for Mucosal Immunology. 

Hand’s publication addresses the effects excess sugar has on the function of intestinal stem cells (ISCs) and transit amplifying (TA) cells that are responsible for maintaining the integrity of intestinal walls. It’s already known that ISCs and TA cells are sensitive to the contents of a person’s diet, however the way in which excess sugar directly affects their functionality is presently unknown. 

Utilizing a combination of 3-dimensional colonoids and an animal model, Hand, and his research team, which included Amanda C. Poholek, PhD, an Assistant Professor in the Division of Rheumatology and Kevin P. Mollen, MD of the Department of Surgery, found that high sugar levels in a diet directly reduce an expression of ISC genes and TA cell regeneration proliferation, among other sometimes irreparable issues. 

Ultimately, the research demonstrates, especially in scenarios of intestinal damage, that high sugar diets can impede or worsen intestinal recovery, activity, and function. Results will hopefully inform dietary guidelines for those suffering from acute intestinal injury. 

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