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

Chess-playing computers may cause the robot apocalypse
2014 04 23
Sore-loser chess programs might be the end of us all... In the movie The Terminator, we heard the human side of the story of Judgment Day, with the machines getting smart and seeing us as a threat. It wasn’t until the sequel that we heard the tale from the machine’s point of view, as it chose to start World War III ...
Archeologists’ findings may prove Rome a century older than thought
2014 04 23
It is already known as the eternal city, and if new archeological findings prove correct Rome may turn out to be even more so than believed until now. Next week, the city will celebrate its official, 2,767th birthday. According to a tradition going back to classic times, the brothers Romulus and Remus founded the city on 21 April in the year ...
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
2014 04 23
A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. "I can’t speak for other MPs, but I’ve had many, many calls over the past eight years about chemtrails. And these questions are not so easy to answer," ...
Mystery of Bizarre Duck-Like Ocean Sound
2014 04 23
If it quacks like a duck... it’s not always a duck. Scientists have reportedly gotten to the bottom of the mysterious ’Bio-Duck’ sound in the Antarctic. Here’s a recording of the strange sound (it’s kind of a stretch to say it sounds like a duck, but who are we to second guess the biologists?). --- Mystery of Bizarre Duck-Like Ocean Sound Solved By Tanya Lewis ...
’Extreme’ Carbon Dioxide Reduction will be a Death Sentence for Humanity & Planet Earth
2014 04 23
If we allow a fraudulent pseudo-environmentalist cult to control every aspect of our lives then our children are doomed to a totalitarian existence which Stalin could only have dreamed of. “The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine ...
More News »