Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Biologist discovers mammal with salamander-like regenerative abilities

Date:
September 26, 2012
Source:
University of Florida
Summary:
A small African mammal with an unusual ability to regrow damaged tissues could inspire new research in regenerative medicine, a new study finds.

African spiny mouse specimen collected in the field near Nairobi Kenya.
Credit: Photo by Ashley Seifert

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.

Related Articles


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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Florida. The original article was written by Donna Hesterman. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Florida. "Biologist discovers mammal with salamander-like regenerative abilities." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120926133115.htm>.
University of Florida. (2012, September 26). Biologist discovers mammal with salamander-like regenerative abilities. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120926133115.htm
University of Florida. "Biologist discovers mammal with salamander-like regenerative abilities." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120926133115.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) NASA's Curiosity rover detected methane on Mars and organic compounds on the surface, but it doesn't quite prove there was life ... yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 17, 2014) Demand for ivory has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of African elephants and now a conservation report says the illegal trade is overwhelming efforts to enforce the law. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
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