5 Feb 2016

Development of intestinal gas capsules

By Dr Jodie Abramovitch

Many types of gases are produced within our digestive systems. Alterations in the type and amount of these gases can alter gut function, and potentially be a sign of disease.

Professor Peter Gibson - Head of the
Department of Gastroenterology
In a cross-disciplinary collaborative project including Monash researchers from the Department of Gastroenterology, a new intestinal gas capsule has been developed. These capsules has been designed to be swallowed so as to allow access to the gut in a non-invasive manner. Here they can sample the gases present and transmit their concentration and location (based on time lapsed following ingestion of the capsule) within the gut.

To test the capsules, pigs on high or low fibre diets were given the capsules. Pigs on a high fibre diet had higher concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and lower hydrogen gas (H2) within their gastrointestinal tract than pigs given a low fibre diet. These findings were consistent with previous studies which measured gases in the guts of pigs on low and high fibre diets using classical (more invasive) techniques. As such, this study has shown that intestinal gas capsules can effectively provide information on the "where and what" regarding gas production in the gut, information that can only be determined presently by invasive techniques that are not possible to perform on humans.

Though the capsules require further refinement before they can be considered for use in humans, this study has shown that they have great potential to effectively and non-invasively detect gases within the gut. This will allow for a better understanding of the physiology of the gut  and permit easier detection and assessment of gut disorders within the clinic and inform treatment options.


ReferenceKalantar-Zadeh KYao CKBerean KJHa NOu JZWard SAPillai NHill JCottrell JJDunshea FRMcSweeney CMuir JGGibson PR. Intestinal gas capsules: a proof-of-concept demonstration. Gastroenterology. 2016 Jan: 150;37-9
doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2015.07.072
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