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Scientists decode newts’ ability to regenerate limbs

by • March 31, 2016 • No Comments

Adult newts are the envy of the animal kingdom when it comes to replacing missing tissue. Amputated legs, arms or tails, there’s in no way repair job too big for this animal’s astonishing regenerative abilities. For the initially time, scientists have pinpointed the mechanism utilized by the amphibian to regrow missing body parts, a development they say can contribute clues to muscle regeneration in mammals.

A team of scientists of the University of Tsukuba, Japan, and the University of Dayton, Ohio, set out to investigate the role of two types of cells believed to play a key role in a newt’s muscle regeneration: skeletal muscle fiber cells (SMFCs) and muscle stem/progenitor cells (MPCs). MPCs are dormant cells which live in the muscle fiber and can be recruited to multiply into specialized muscle cells.

The researchers introduced a gene to Japanese fire bellied newt embryos which was linked to a red fluorescent protein and known to be active in SMFCs, enabling them to track its activity throughout the muscle regeneration system. MPC activity was assessed through tissue sample collection and cell-specific staining.

The team allowed one group of newts to grow to three months, the swimming larval stage, and another to 16 months, the metamorphosed juvenile stage. So, with the animals anaesthetized, they starting lopping off the limbs.

What the scientists discovered was which the younger newts regenerated their tissue primarily through the MPCs, pretty than SMFCs. In the adult newts, the researchers discovered which the SMFCs in fact regressed, re-entered the cell cycle and and so proliferated to generate additional muscle cells.

“Larval newts use stem/progenitor cells for new muscle in a regenerated limb while metamorphosed newts recruit muscle fiber cells in the stump for the same purpose,” says Hibiki Tanaka of the University of Tsukuba.

The researchers do note which these regenerative powers are unlikely to be recreated in humans, but by establishing how precisely they work can additional our belief of mammal tissue regeneration and injure healing.

“The newt switches the cellular mechanism for limb regeneration of a stem/progenitor-based mechanism (larval mode) to a dedifferentiation-based one (adult mode) as it transits beyond metamorphosis,” says Chikafumi Chiba of the University of Tsukuba. “Delineating the mechanisms of these strategies can undoubtedly provide clues for regeneration in other species which include mammals.”

The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Source: EurekAlert

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