Feature Papers in Human Physiology–2nd Edition

A special issue of Physiologia (ISSN 2673-9488).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 17837

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School of Medicine, Royal Derby Hospital, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
Interests: skeletal muscle; nutrition; metabolism; protein synthesis; ageing; cell signalling
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Dear Colleagues,

The first volume of this Special Issue was a great success; therefore, we invite you to publish your research in the second volume of this Special Issue (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/physiologia/special_issues/human_physiol).

This Special Issue is designed to publish high-quality papers in Physiologia, a new journal dedicated to recent advances in the research area of physiology. The Special Issue engages in, but is not limited to, the following topics: musculoskeletal physiology, endocrine physiology, adipose physiology, and cardiovascular physiology (in health, aging, and/or disease). The Special Issue will present a collection of research articles and review articles highlighting interesting results in the field of human physiology.

Prof. Dr. Philip J. Atherton
Guest Editor

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Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 2583 KiB  
Article
Gravitational Ischemia in the Brain: How Interfering with Its Release May Predispose to Either Alzheimer’s- or Parkinson’s-like Illness, Treatable with Hyperbaric Oxygen
by J. Howard Jaster and Giulia Ottaviani
Physiologia 2023, 3(4), 510-521; https://doi.org/10.3390/physiologia3040037 - 4 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1097
Abstract
The physiological mechanisms for releasing and resolving gravitational ischemia in the brain, and their susceptibility to malfunction, may play an important role in a variety of neurological illnesses. An astronaut on a space walk in a micro-gravity environment may be susceptible to neuro-ocular [...] Read more.
The physiological mechanisms for releasing and resolving gravitational ischemia in the brain, and their susceptibility to malfunction, may play an important role in a variety of neurological illnesses. An astronaut on a space walk in a micro-gravity environment may be susceptible to neuro-ocular symptoms associated with unopposed gravity-resistance mechanisms for partially preventing gravitational ischemia in the brain, and for attenuating its impact—mechanisms which may be required for normal brain physiology on Earth. Astronauts on the International Space Station typically breathe a mixture of gasses similar in composition to what they breathed on Earth, following the 1967 death of three astronauts, including Ed White, by fire on the Apollo 1 spacecraft, which was carrying 100% oxygen. For the last decade, astronauts have been studied extensively by flight physicians regarding the commonly experienced symptoms of VIIP, or ‘visual impairment and intracranial pressure’ syndrome. In this paper, we compare VIIP syndrome to the neuro-ocular and Parkinson’s-like symptoms which occurred during and after the 1918–1919 influenza pandemic. The common denominator may be gravitational ischemia in the brain, and the mirror-imaging failed mechanisms for its release (in influenza) versus unopposed gravity-resistance mechanisms (in astronauts). Some research has suggested that astronauts may benefit from breathing oxygen concentrations somewhat higher than 20%, and under slightly elevated pressure. These may possibly prevent maladaptive mechanisms leading to Alzheimer’s- or Parkinson’s-like illness by compensating for impaired mechanisms for releasing and resolving gravitational ischemia in the brain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Human Physiology–2nd Edition)
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12 pages, 674 KiB  
Article
Effect of Ischemic Preconditioning (IPC) on Recovery of Exercise Performance Following a Bout of Exercise to Volitional Exhaustion
by Peter J. Angell and Simon Marwood
Physiologia 2023, 3(3), 394-405; https://doi.org/10.3390/physiologia3030027 - 29 Jun 2023
Viewed by 970
Abstract
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of ischemic preconditioning (IPC) on the recovery of exercise performance following maximal, incremental exercise. A total of 13 healthy males volunteered to participate, undertaking three experimental trials involving a constant work-rate bout [...] Read more.
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of ischemic preconditioning (IPC) on the recovery of exercise performance following maximal, incremental exercise. A total of 13 healthy males volunteered to participate, undertaking three experimental trials involving a constant work-rate bout of severe intensity exercise undertaken to the limit of tolerance that was preceded by a 40-min recovery period consequent to a maximal, incremental exercise test. During the recovery period, participants underwent IPC at 220 mmHg, sham IPC (SHAM; 20 mmHg), and passive rest (CON). Exercise tolerance time was higher following IPC as compared to SHAM and CON {199 ± 36 (CON) vs. 203 ± 35 (SHAM) vs. 219 ± 34 (IPC), p = 0.03}. This effect was accompanied by a tendency toward an augmented increase in blood lactate from rest to exercise in IPC compared to SHAM and CON (p = 0.08). There was no effect of IPC on oxygen uptake kinetics or muscle oxygenation as indicated via near-infrared spectroscopy. IPC may therefore have the capacity to augment recovery from prior maximal exercise, but this does not appear to be due to enhancements to oxygen uptake kinetics or muscle oxygenation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Human Physiology–2nd Edition)
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14 pages, 913 KiB  
Article
The Effects of a Multi-Ingredient Supplement Containing Wasabia Japonica Extract, Theacrine, and Copper (I) Niacin Chelate on Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell DNA Methylation, Transcriptomics, and Sirtuin Activity
by Michael D. Roberts, Michael B. La Monica, Betsy Raub, Jennifer E. Sandrock, Tim N. Ziegenfuss, Ryan Smith, Varun B. Dwaraka and Hector L. Lopez
Physiologia 2023, 3(2), 233-246; https://doi.org/10.3390/physiologia3020016 - 18 Apr 2023
Viewed by 2112
Abstract
Herein, we determined if a multi-ingredient supplement (NAD3; 312 mg of combined Wasabia japonica extract, theacrine, and copper (I)niacin chelate) versus a placebo (CTL) affected peripheral blood mononuclear (PMBC) transcriptomic, DNA methylation, and sirtuin activity profiles in middle-aged adults after 12 weeks of [...] Read more.
Herein, we determined if a multi-ingredient supplement (NAD3; 312 mg of combined Wasabia japonica extract, theacrine, and copper (I)niacin chelate) versus a placebo (CTL) affected peripheral blood mononuclear (PMBC) transcriptomic, DNA methylation, and sirtuin activity profiles in middle-aged adults after 12 weeks of supplementation. Several mRNAs demonstrated interactions (n = 148 at ±1.5-fold change, p < 0.01), and more stringent filtering indicated that 25 mRNAs were upregulated and 29 were downregulated in the NAD3 versus CTL group. Bioinformatics on these 64 mRNAs suggested that DNA conformational alterations may have been promoted with NAD3 supplementation, and this was corroborated with more CpG sites being hypermethylated (p < 0.001) in the CTL versus the NAD3 group when examining pre- to post-intervention changes (369 versus 35). PBMC SIRT activity decreased in CTL participants (p < 0.001), but not in NAD3 participants (p = 0.289), and values at 12 weeks trended higher in NAD3 participants (p = 0.057). Interestingly, the pre- to post- changes in SIRT activity values significantly correlated with changes in PBMC NAD+: NADH values obtained from a previous investigation in these participants (r = 0.534, p = 0.015). In conclusion, the current mRNA and DNA methylation data indirectly suggest that NAD3 supplementation may affect PBMC DNA conformation, while other direct assays suggest that NAD3 supplementation maintains SIRT activity through the potential maintenance of NAD+: NADH levels. However, these results are preliminary due to limited n-sizes and the study being performed in middle-aged adults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Human Physiology–2nd Edition)
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10 pages, 769 KiB  
Article
Heart Rate Variability Parameters to Evaluate Autonomic Functions in Healthy Young Subjects during Short-Term “Dry” Immersion
by Liudmila Gerasimova-Meigal, Alexander Meigal, Nadezhda Sireneva, Maria Gerasimova and Anna Sklyarova
Physiologia 2023, 3(1), 119-128; https://doi.org/10.3390/physiologia3010010 - 2 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1438
Abstract
There is a gap in the current knowledge on the immediate mechanisms of cardiovascular regulation in human subjects within short-term exposure to modeled microgravity using “dry” immersion. Aim. The purpose of the study was to evaluate cardiovascular responses in young healthy subjects during [...] Read more.
There is a gap in the current knowledge on the immediate mechanisms of cardiovascular regulation in human subjects within short-term exposure to modeled microgravity using “dry” immersion. Aim. The purpose of the study was to evaluate cardiovascular responses in young healthy subjects during a 45 min session with the help of linear and nonlinear heart rate variability and hemodynamics parameters. The research voluntarily enrolled 33 subjects (18 men, 15 women) aged 19–23 years old. Results. The study showed that systolic and diastolic blood pressure was quite stable, some time-domain parameters of heart rate variability (SDNN, RMSSD, pNN50, etc.) and the frequency-domain (TP, HF, LF, but not VLF) have significantly increased within a 45 min “dry” immersion session. Of the non-linear parameters of heart rate variability, only ApEn significantly decreased during the “dry” immersion session. Conclusion. Our results suggest that a short-term 45 min DI session provokes in young healthy subjects neurogenic autonomic reaction based on the baroreceptor reflex. This provides stable hemodynamics in these subjects along the “dry” immersion session. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Human Physiology–2nd Edition)
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15 pages, 1983 KiB  
Article
Fluid Replacement Strategies and Heart Rate Variability Recovery Following Prolonged Exercise in the Heat and Mild Dehydration
by Ciara N. Manning, Margaret C. Morrissey, Sean P. Langan, Rebecca L. Stearns, Robert A. Huggins, Ryan M. Curtis, Yasuki Sekiguchi, Srinivas Laxminarayan, Jaques Reifman and Douglas J. Casa
Physiologia 2023, 3(1), 98-112; https://doi.org/10.3390/physiologia3010008 - 16 Feb 2023
Viewed by 2009
Abstract
Background: In sporting and combat settings, optimal fluid replacement is rarely achieved, exacerbating physiological strain. It is unknown if prescribed fluid replacement following exercise in heat impacts heart rate variability (HRV). Purpose: Compare prescribed drinking (PD) and ad libitum (AL) fluid replacement on [...] Read more.
Background: In sporting and combat settings, optimal fluid replacement is rarely achieved, exacerbating physiological strain. It is unknown if prescribed fluid replacement following exercise in heat impacts heart rate variability (HRV). Purpose: Compare prescribed drinking (PD) and ad libitum (AL) fluid replacement on HRV following exercise in heat. Methods: Twelve participants (26 ± 5 years, VO2max: 58.44 ± 7.05 mL·kg−1·min−1) completed three trials in heat (36 °C, 36% humidity) on separate days, and were placed into groups, PD or AL. Recovery was assessed ~24 h later (hydration and HRV). HRV time and frequency was measured using a 3-lead electrocardiogram. Two-way repeated measures analysis of variance measured changes in HRV pre-trial, post-trial, and follow-up between groups. Data reported: p-value, mean difference (MD). Results: Fluid consumption was greater in PD during recovery (p = 0.012, MD = 1245 mL). Both groups were euhydrated at follow-up. HRV time (p < 0.001, MD = 24.23) and frequency (p < 0.001, MD = −1.98 ms2) decreased post-trial and increased by follow-up (time, p < 0.001, MD = −32.12; frequency, p < 0.001, MD = 2.38 ms2). HRV was similar between groups (p > 0.05). Conclusions: Replacing ≥60% fluid sufficiently rehydrates and restores HRV 24 h post-exercise in heat and mild dehydration (BML ≤ 3%). Prescribed fluid consumption during recovery was ~30% greater. Additional measures of recovery sensitive to heat strain may provide a more holistic understanding of specific mechanisms of recovery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Human Physiology–2nd Edition)
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Review

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33 pages, 1422 KiB  
Review
Identification of Putative Causal Relationships between Blood-Based Biomarkers and Prediabetes-Induced Senescence: A Comprehensive Review
by Nonkululeko Avril Mbatha, Aganze Gloire-Aimé Mushebenge and Andile Khathi
Physiologia 2024, 4(2), 149-181; https://doi.org/10.3390/physiologia4020009 - 8 Apr 2024
Viewed by 397
Abstract
Prediabetes, a pivotal phase in glucose metabolism between normalcy and diabetes, exerts a profound influence on the aging process and the risk of age-related diseases. This comprehensive review delves into the intricate web of blood-based biomarkers that collectively expedite senescence, marking the transition [...] Read more.
Prediabetes, a pivotal phase in glucose metabolism between normalcy and diabetes, exerts a profound influence on the aging process and the risk of age-related diseases. This comprehensive review delves into the intricate web of blood-based biomarkers that collectively expedite senescence, marking the transition from a state of health to age-related complications. Key findings underscore the significance of diverse biomarkers, such as telomere length, p16INK4a, senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) factors, DNA methylation clocks, advanced glycation end products (AGEs), inflammatory and oxidative stress markers, circulating hormones, and additional factors such as folate, B12, and osteocalcin. Not only do these biomarkers serve as indicators of senescence but they also actively fuel chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and metabolic dysregulation, all of which contribute to accelerated aging. The implications of this understanding are profound, as prediabetes emerges as a critical period in an individual’s life, influencing various physiological systems, including the vascular and neural systems, metabolic functions, hormonal regulation, and bone health. Recognizing the profound influence of prediabetes on senescence provides a foundation for personalized intervention strategies to mitigate age-related complications and promote healthy aging. Future research directions call for a more diverse array of biomarkers, the in-depth exploration of their roles, and the development of tailored precision medicine strategies to ensure a holistic understanding and effective management of prediabetes-induced senescence and its implications for aging. This knowledge has far-reaching implications for public health and clinical practice, emphasizing the need for early detection and intervention in prediabetic individuals to enhance the quality of life in an aging population with diverse needs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Human Physiology–2nd Edition)
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19 pages, 534 KiB  
Review
The Past, Present, Future: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Human Skin Diseases
by Niki Ebrahimnejad, Duaa Jaafar and Heidi Goodarzi
Physiologia 2024, 4(1), 81-99; https://doi.org/10.3390/physiologia4010005 - 8 Feb 2024
Viewed by 892
Abstract
When thinking of skin disease, cancer comes up almost immediately as an example. While the American Cancer Society lists 6 major cancer types, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases identifies 13 significant benign skin disorders, reflecting the diversity of [...] Read more.
When thinking of skin disease, cancer comes up almost immediately as an example. While the American Cancer Society lists 6 major cancer types, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases identifies 13 significant benign skin disorders, reflecting the diversity of skin conditions in dermatology. This topical review aims to provide an overview of the pathophysiology of these major skin cancers and disorders and to summarize conventional diagnostic methods and current treatment approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Human Physiology–2nd Edition)
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12 pages, 424 KiB  
Review
Rehabilitation Outcome Measures in Patients with Spinal Stenosis: A Literary Review
by Gianluca Ciardi, Gianfranco Lamberti, Vittorio Casati and Elena Paris
Physiologia 2023, 3(3), 421-432; https://doi.org/10.3390/physiologia3030029 - 11 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1559
Abstract
Background: Lumbar spinal stenosis causes considerable disability in everyday life; its incidence is increasing due to aging in the world population. First-line treatment is generally conservative, but rehabilitation outcome is still unclear; the aim of this systematic review was to define which domains [...] Read more.
Background: Lumbar spinal stenosis causes considerable disability in everyday life; its incidence is increasing due to aging in the world population. First-line treatment is generally conservative, but rehabilitation outcome is still unclear; the aim of this systematic review was to define which domains need to be evaluated for the lumbar stenosis physiotherapy approach, further specifying if the literature suggests patient-centred or objective measures. Methods: A systematic review of the literature according to the PRISMA statement was carried out; the PICO model was used to draw research questions. RCTs about the rehabilitation of lumbar spinal stenosis conducted in the last five years were considered includible, with no difference in terms of stenosis location. The following databases were screened through specific search strings: PubMed, EBSCO, PEDro, Cochrane Database, Scopus, and Google Scholar; two independent researchers assessed results and a third opinion was requested to solve conflicts. Critical appraisal of the included studies was conducted through Pedro Jadad scores. The following data were extracted: author and year, country, sample, intervention, outcome domains, and tools. Results: From 10,069 records, three RCTs were included in the final review stage; they all showed high methodological quality. It is recommended for physiotherapists dealing with lumbar spinal stenosis to assess five main domains: disability, pain, clinical tests, mental wellbeing and kynesiophobia, and quality of life. Domains were mainly assessed through self-reported questionnaires/scales, while objective tests evaluate general lower limb movements, the active range of motion, or the muscles’ endurance. Conclusion: This five-domain evaluation model is reliable and can be practised in each rehabilitation setting (home, outpatient, and hospital); sustainability is guaranteed by the prevalent employment of self-reported tools. Future studies should evaluate the best questionnaire/scale for each domain, especially the definition of a gold standard for pain assessment in patients with lumbar stenosis as this is a challenge for the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Human Physiology–2nd Edition)
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13 pages, 964 KiB  
Review
The Role of Gut Microbiome in Psoriatic Arthritis—A Literature Review
by Cristina Alexandru, Carmen Catalina Iorgus, Ionut Melesteu, Elena Daniela Șerban, Florin Bobircă, Maria Magdalena Constantin, Razvan Simu, Ioan Ancuța, Mihai Bojincă and Anca Bobircă
Physiologia 2023, 3(2), 208-220; https://doi.org/10.3390/physiologia3020014 - 4 Apr 2023
Viewed by 3318
Abstract
Psoriatic arthritis is a heterogeneous chronic autoimmune disorder characterized principally by skin lesions, arthritis, dactylitis and enthesitis. The exact etiology of the disease is yet to be discovered, with genetic predisposition alongside environmental factors being a well-known theory. In recent years, new discoveries [...] Read more.
Psoriatic arthritis is a heterogeneous chronic autoimmune disorder characterized principally by skin lesions, arthritis, dactylitis and enthesitis. The exact etiology of the disease is yet to be discovered, with genetic predisposition alongside environmental factors being a well-known theory. In recent years, new discoveries have emphasized the role of gut microbiome in perpetuating inflammation in spondylarthritis. The exact mechanism through which dysbiosis underlies the pathophysiology of psoriatic arthritis is not defined. One of the current areas of focus in rheumatic research with new studies emerging annually is the link between microbiome and psoriatic arthritis. In this review, we synthesized the recent knowledge on intestinal microbiome and psoriatic arthritis. We screened two databases for articles, PubMed and Medline, using the following keywords: “microbiome”, “microbiota” and “psoriatic arthritis”. We described the current expertise on diversity and composition of gut microbiome in psoriatic arthritis, comparing the results with other inflammatory diseases. In the future, preventing the dysbiosis process that leads to the development of psoriatic arthritis could open the door to new therapeutic modalities. Moreover, fecal microbiota transplantation and probiotics’ benefits in modulating the gut microbiome are being intensively researched at the moment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Human Physiology–2nd Edition)
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Other

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10 pages, 3059 KiB  
Brief Report
Lightness Peaks during the Menstrual Phase: A Retrospective Challenge to a Visual Arousal Theory of Estrogen
by Brian Foutch
Physiologia 2024, 4(2), 139-148; https://doi.org/10.3390/physiologia4020008 - 25 Mar 2024
Viewed by 444
Abstract
(1) Background: The influence of estrogen on cognitive and perceptual functions is debated. Some research suggests that estrogen increases arousal, improving cognitive function, while others propose that increased arousal might reduce performance in certain tasks. This study investigates the effects of menstrual cycle [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The influence of estrogen on cognitive and perceptual functions is debated. Some research suggests that estrogen increases arousal, improving cognitive function, while others propose that increased arousal might reduce performance in certain tasks. This study investigates the effects of menstrual cycle phase and estrogen levels on lightness perception in cycling women and hormonal contraceptive (HC) users. (2) Methods: Sixteen women (nine with natural cycles and seven HC users) completed three sessions aligned with different menstrual cycle phases. During these sessions, participants adjusted the luminance of five test stimuli (representing blue, green, green-yellow, yellow, and red) until they matched a flickering reference white stimulus. Lightness was calculated as the ratio of the reference stimulus luminance (5 cd/m2) divided by the test luminance required to match. Estrogen levels were also determined for each participant from saliva samples collected on the morning of each session. The effects of wavelength and menstrual cycle phase on lightness perception were analyzed, followed by post hoc comparisons and correlations between lightness perception and estrogen levels for both cycling women and HC users. (3) Results: Lightness varied by menstrual phase (MCP) in cycling women and was slightly higher during the low estrogen menstrual phase compared to peri-ovulation or luteal phases. In HC users, lightness measures were equivalent across phases. For cycling women, lightness was negatively correlated with estrogen for the green and green-yellow stimuli. There were no such associations among HC users. (4) Conclusions: This report challenges the concept that high estrogen phases of the menstrual cycle always positively influence perception. Conversely, these results revealed that—at least in cycling, non-hormonal contraceptive users—lightness perception was both at a maximum during the low estrogen menstrual phase and negatively associated with estrogen levels across all tested wavelengths. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Human Physiology–2nd Edition)
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12 pages, 1549 KiB  
Perspective
Wnt Signaling in the Gastrointestinal Tract in Health and Disease
by Negar Taheri, Egan L. Choi, Vy Truong Thuy Nguyen, Abhishek Chandra and Yujiro Hayashi
Physiologia 2023, 3(1), 86-97; https://doi.org/10.3390/physiologia3010007 - 9 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2438
Abstract
Wnt signaling involves multiple pathways that contribute to organ development, cell fate, inflammation, and normal stem cell renewal and maintenance. Although the homeostasis of stem cells in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract highly depends on the Wnt signaling pathway, this regulation is impaired in [...] Read more.
Wnt signaling involves multiple pathways that contribute to organ development, cell fate, inflammation, and normal stem cell renewal and maintenance. Although the homeostasis of stem cells in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract highly depends on the Wnt signaling pathway, this regulation is impaired in cancers and in aging. Overactive (uncontrolled) Wnt signaling can induce GI epithelial cancers such as colon and gastric cancer. Overactive Wnt signaling can also contribute to the initiation and progression of gastrointestinal stromal tumor, which is the most common human sarcoma occurring in the walls of the digestive organs, mainly the stomach and small intestine. Wnt expression is positively associated not only with the progression of oncogenesis but also with resistance to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Of note, recent reports show that decreased Wnt signaling is related to intestinal stem cell aging and that overactivated Wnt signaling leads to gastric pacemaker stem cell aging in tunica muscularis. These findings indicate that Wnt signaling has different crucial aspects of cell fate determination with age in GI tunica mucosa and muscularis. In this review, we summarize the most recent advances in our understanding of Wnt signaling pathways and their role in regulating key aspects during development, carcinogenesis, inflammation, and aging, with the ultimate goal of identifying novel therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Human Physiology–2nd Edition)
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