CapScan offers a non-invasive method for profiling microorganisms, proteins, and bile acids along the intestinal tract
Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed an ingestible capsule called CapScan that can collect data about the human gut microbiome.
Currently gut bacteria are studied through stool samples but CapScan enables collection of small volumes of biofluids and microorganisms from multiple regions of the human intestinal tract during normal digestion. Other options available to sample the intestinal tract is endoscopy, a two-hour procedure in which the patient has to be either administered general anesthesia or sedated.
“The small intestine has so far only been accessible in sedated people who have fasted, and that’s not very helpful,” said Professor Oliver Fiehn, director of the West Coast Metabolomics Center at UC Davis.
The device, which was tested on 15 healthy individuals, is coated with a pH-sensitive material that allows researchers to choose which part of the intestinal tract they want to sample.
CapScan collects contents like bacteria, viruses, host proteins, and metabolism in the upper intestine, which study found differ dramatically in all 15 individuals. The study which was published in the journal Nature, found that two subjects who had taken antibiotics six months before the study had different variations of bioactive fatty acid esters of hydroxy fatty acids (FAFHAs) and sulfonolipids, metabolites which are associated with preventing diabetes and inflammation.
CapScan offers a non-invasive method for profiling microorganisms, proteins, and bile acids along the intestinal tract. The device is expected to help researchers better understand how the human gut microbiome interacts with food digestion, protection against pathogens, immune system regulation, and other critical functions.
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