Biologist discovers mammal with salamander-like regenerative abilities
2012 10 02

By Donna Hesterman | Phys.org





A small African mammal with an unusual ability to regrow damaged tissues could inspire new research in regenerative medicine, a University of Florida study finds.

For years biologists have studied salamanders for their ability to regrow lost limbs. But amphibian biology is very different than human biology, so lessons learned in laboratories from salamanders are difficult to translate into medical therapies for humans. New research in the Sept. 27 issue of the journal Nature describes a mammal that can regrow new body tissues following an injury.

The African spiny mouse could become a new model for research in regenerative medicine. "The African spiny mouse appears to regenerate ear tissue in much the way that a salamander regrows a limb that has been lost to a predator," said Ashley W. Seifert, a postdoctoral researcher in UF’s biology department. "Skin, hair follicles, cartilage—it all comes back."

That’s not the case in other mammals, he said. Usually scar tissue forms to fill the gap created by a wound.

The spiny mouse also regrows tissue on its main body when injured but not as completely as it does in its ears. "On their backs, they regrow hair follicles and skin, but the muscle beneath the skin doesn’t regenerate," Seifert said. Seifert was studying scar-free healing in amphibians when a colleague told him that a small rodent he had observed in Africa seemed capable of autotomy, a defense mechanism whereby the animal self-amputates a body part to escape a predator.

"Autotomy in skinks, geckos and some salamanders is well known," Seifert said. "But it is very rare in mammals, and so far we’ve only seen it in a few rodents that can jettison their tail."

Seifert’s colleague said that the African spiny mouse appeared to have tear-away skin that allowed it to slip a predator’s grasp. The notion was interesting enough to send Seifert packing to the Mpala Research Centre near Nairobi, Kenya. In Nairobi, Seifert was able to document the first known case of skin autotomy in a mammal.

But it was how the animals’ injuries appeared to be healing that really got his attention. Seifert used a 4mm biopsy punch, about the size of a large BB, to puncture holes in the ears of the mice to see if the animal showed regenerative capabilities. "The results were astonishing," he said.

"The various tissues in the ear grew back through formation of blastema-like structures—the same sort of biological process that a salamander uses to regenerate a severed limb." Ken Muneoka, a Tulane University professor of cell and molecular biology who was not involved with the study, agrees that Seifert’s findings are important.

"It could represent a new model system for skin wound healing and tissue regeneration in humans," he said.


Article from: phys.org






Related Articles
Nanomedicine Opens The Way For Nerve Cell Regeneration (2007)
Why chemotherapy doesn’t work - Cancer tumors confirmed to have stem cells that regenerate tumors
Scientists regenerate a plant -- 30,000 years on
Body’s Own Stem Cells Can Lead to Tooth Regeneration
Human Heart Regenerates Cells Automatically: One Percent Each Year
Pentagon Plan to Regrow Limbs: Phase One, Complete
’Spray-on skin’ has healing power
New Patch Makes Certain Skin Cancers Disappear
The man machines? Scientists develop plastic skin that BLEEDS red liquid - and can even heal itself
BulletProof Humans: Researcher and Artist Create Bulletproof Skin


Latest News from our Front Page

If Someone Secretly Controlled What You Say, Would Anyone Notice?
2014 10 01
The subject enters a room in which a 12-year-old boy is seated. A 20-minute conversation ensues. The subject quizzes the boy about current events and other topics to get a sense of his intelligence and personality. But the boy is not what he appears to be. Unbeknownst to the subject, the boy is wearing a radio receiver in his ear, and ...
Obama has had accurate intelligence about ISIS since BEFORE the 2012 election, says administration insider
2014 10 01
‘President Barack Obama’s intelligence briefings have provided him with specific information since before he won re-election in 2012 about the growing threat of the terror group now known alternatively as ISIS and ISIL, an administration insider told MailOnline on Monday. ‘Unless someone very senior has been shredding the president’s daily briefings and telling him that the dog ate them, highly accurate ...
Can holding a magnet against your head help defeat depression?
2014 10 01
Former GP Sue Mildred suffered from crippling depression and anxiety for 20 years. On two occasions it was so severe that she ended up in hospital, and for 15 years she was unable to work. Sue, 51, has tried antidepressants, talking therapies and, out of desperation, even ECT (electro-convulsive therapy), where an electric current is passed through the brain. This did ...
Extremists to have Facebook and Twitter vetted by anti-terror police
2014 09 30
Theresa May to announce new Extremist Disruption Orders to strengthen counter-terrorism if the Tories win the next general election Extremists will have to get posts on Facebook and Twitter approved in advance by the police under sweeping rules planned by the Conservatives. They will also be barred from speaking at public events if they represent a threat to “the functioning of democracy”, ...
Scottish Independence: Protesters demand revote
2014 09 30
Pro-independence campaigners gathered outside the Scottish Parliament for the second day in a row, this time to demand a revote of the September 18 referendum. While yesterday’s “Rally For A Revote” saw the return of Saltires and Yes banners to Holyrood, it did not match the turnout for the “Voice Of The People” rally held on Saturday, when up 3000 people ...
More News »