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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anton Windfelder

Last week, an article about our research appeared in the F.A.Z. newspaper.

Updated: Apr 28

Check it out!

Great article, which deals with our current paper “Windfelder, A. G., Steinbart, J., Graser, L., Scherberich, J., Krombach, G. A., & Vilcinskas, A. (2024). An enteric ultrastructural surface atlas of the model insect Manduca sexta. Iscience, 27(4).”

Many thanks to all involved!


  • This is a systematic surface atlas of the healthy hornworm gut surface

  • We estimated a total resorptive midgut surface as 0.42 m2 for L5d6 larvae

  • We observed dense biofilms of enterococci in the pyloric cone

  • This work supports allometric scaling and dose conversion according to the 3Rs


The tobacco hornworm is a laboratory model that is particularly suitable for analyzing gut inflammation, but a physiological reference standard is currently unavailable. Here, we present a surface atlas of the healthy hornworm gut generated by scanning electron microscopy and nano-computed tomography. This comprehensive overview of the gut surface reveals morphological differences between the anterior, middle, and posterior midgut, allowing the screening of aberrant gut phenotypes while accommodating normal physiological variations. We estimated a total resorptive midgut surface of 0.42 m2 for L5d6 larvae, revealing its remarkable size. Our data will support allometric scaling and dose conversion from Manduca sexta to mammals in preclinical research, embracing the 3R principles. We also observed non-uniform gut colonization by enterococci, characterized by dense biofilms in the pyloric cone and downstream of the pylorus associated with pore and spine structures in the hindgut intima, indicating a putative immunosurveillance function in the lepidopteran hindgut.

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