Research

More intestinal cells can absorb larger particles

Safe passage

Microspheres (red) permeate the intestinal lining (green) on their way to the bloodstream in this image taken with a two-photon microscope. Eventually, microspheres could carry medication to targeted sites within the body. Credit: Mathiowitz lab/Brown University

A new study reports that the small intestine uses more cells than scientists had realized to absorb microspheres large enough to contain therapeutic protein drugs, such as insulin. The finding in rats, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is potentially good news for developing a means for oral delivery of such drugs.