Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stem Cells At Root Of Antlers' Branching

Date:
May 1, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
German researchers have found that deer antler growth and regeneration might be reduced to a stem cell-based process. Their results strongly support the view that the growth of primary antlers as well as the annual process of antler regeneration depend on the periodic activation of mesenchymal stem cells.

Fallow deer (Dama dama).
Credit: Hans Rolf

The ability to regenerate lost body parts is unevenly distributed among higher organisms. Among vertebrates, some amphibians are able to replace lost limbs completely, while mammals are unable to regenerate complex appendages. The only exception to this rule is the annual replacement of deer antlers. The annual regrowth of these structures is the only example of regeneration of a complete, anatomically complex appendage in a mammal, and antlers are therefore of high interest to regeneration biologists.

The epimorphic regeneration of appendages may involve progenitor cells created through reprogramming of differentiated cells or through the activation of resident stem cells. Reporting in this week's PLoS ONE in a study funded by the German Research Society, Hans J. Rolf and colleagues from the University of Goettingen and University of Hildesheim (Germany) emphasize that deer antler growth and regeneration might be reduced to a stem cell-based process. Their results strongly support the view that the growth of primary antlers as well as the annual process of antler regeneration depend on the periodic activation of mesenchymal stem cells. Understanding the mechanisms behind this unique regeneration process could have an important impact on the emerging field of regenerative medicine.

Deer antlers are cast and regenerated from permanent bony protuberances of the frontal bones, called pedicles. After antler casting, the bone wound on the top of the pedicle is bordered by the pedicle periosteum and the pedicle skin. Wound healing and epithelialization as well as formation of an antler bud occur very rapidly and, in larger species like the red deer (Cervus elaphus), the new antler elongates at an average rate of about 1 cm per day.

As early as the second half of the 20th century antler biologists recognized that exploring the mechanisms of antler regeneration may provide crucial insights to better understand why mammals are unable to regenerate amputated limbs. For years, the source of the cells that give rise to the regenerating antler has been a matter of controversy. Recently, it has been hypothesized that antler regeneration is a stem cell based process and most workers in the field consider the periosteum of the pedicle to be the source of the cells forming the regenerating antler.

However, thus far direct evidence for the existence of stem/progenitor cells in the pedicle periosteum and the growing antler was lacking. As part of an ongoing research project, Rolf and colleagues searched for the presence of cells positive for known stem/progenitor cell markers in pedicles and growing antlers of fallow deer (Dama dama). In addition, they isolated and cultivated stem/progenitor cells derived from the deer antler/pedicle and investigated their proliferation and differentiation properties.

The most important finding of the present study is the demonstration of STRO-1+ cells in different locations of the primary and regenerating antler as well as in the pedicle of fallow deer. The experiments described by Rolf and colleagues strongly support the view that the annual antler regeneration indeed represents a stem cell-based process. Their results are consistent with the hypothesis that the regenerating antler is build up by the progeny of mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells located in the cambial layer of the pedicle periosteum. It has recently been shown that stem cell populations exist in "niches" -- specific anatomical locations that regulate how the stem cells participate in tissue generation, maintenance and repair. Rolf and colleagues assume that such a "stem cell niche" is located in the cambial layer of the periosteum and that the regeneration of antlers is dependent on the periodic activation of these stem cells.

Even though different groups have recently found clues to the presence of stem cells/progenitor cells in the pedicle periosteum as well as in primary and regenerating antlers, the present paper for the first time provided crucial evidence for the existence of stem cells in these areas. It has been shown that fallow deer antler cells positive for different stem cell markers can be sorted and cultivated as "pure" cultures. These cells were able to differentiate in vitro along the osteogenic and adipogenic lineages. Together, the findings of the present study suggest that not only limited tissue regeneration, but also extensive appendage regeneration in a postnatal mammal can occur as a stem cell-based process. Therefore, deer antlers as a research model might be of great interest not only for veterinarians or deer biologists but also for stem cell researchers, tissue engineers, cell biologists and basic researchers in medical disciplines.

Citation: Rolf HJ, Kierdorf U, Kierdorf H, Schulz J, Seymour N, et al. (2008). Localization and Characterization of STRO-1+ Cells in the Deer Pedicle and Regenerating Antler. PLoS ONE 3(4): e2064. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002064


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Stem Cells At Root Of Antlers' Branching." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080429204239.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, May 1). Stem Cells At Root Of Antlers' Branching. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080429204239.htm
Public Library of Science. "Stem Cells At Root Of Antlers' Branching." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080429204239.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) Once upon a time, farming was a blissfully low-tech business on Colombia's northern plains. Duration: 02:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins