The Importance of the Enteric Glia and its Related Product S100b Protein in Gut Inflammation

Carla Cirillo, Elena Capoccia, Giovanni Sarnelli, Caterina Scuderi, Rosario Cuomo, Luca Steardo, Giuseppe Esposito


The urgent need of new pharmacological approaches that may enlarge the tools against inflammatory bowel diseases, lowering side effects and costs of the actually-used drugs is a very important challenge for gastroenterologists and pharmacologists. This short communication is aimed to highlight the importance of enteric glia and its derived signaling molecule S100B in the pathogenesis of chronic inflammation occurring in the gut. Once hyper-secreted, S100B, a small signaling diffusible Ca2+/Zn2+-binding protein, orchestrates a massive pro-inflammatory reaction in the gut, through the paracrine induction of nitric oxide and the recruitment of immune cells in the mucosa. A better understanding of the mechanisms by which enteric glia may trigger and perpetuate gut inflammation may address scientists to selectively target this cell population and decrease S100B overproduction may thus represent a significant innovation in this sense and open the field to novel therapies for inflammatory bowel diseases.

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