Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Do salamanders' immune systems hold the key to regeneration?

Date:
May 20, 2013
Source:
Monash University
Summary:
Salamanders' immune systems are key to their remarkable ability to regrow limbs, and could also underpin their ability to regenerate spinal cords, brain tissue and even parts of their hearts, scientists have found. In new research, scientists have found that when immune cells known as macrophages were systemically removed, salamanders lost their ability to regenerate a limb and instead formed scar tissue.

Fire salamander.
Credit: © Jόrgen Fδlchle / Fotolia

Salamanders' immune systems are key to their remarkable ability to regrow limbs, and could also underpin their ability to regenerate spinal cords, brain tissue and even parts of their hearts, scientists have found.

In research published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences researchers from the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) at Monash University found that when immune cells known as macrophages were systemically removed, salamanders lost their ability to regenerate a limb and instead formed scar tissue.

Lead researcher, Dr James Godwin, a Fellow in the laboratory of ARMI Director Professor Nadia Rosenthal, said the findings brought researchers a step closer to understanding what conditions were needed for regeneration.

"Previously, we thought that macrophages were negative for regeneration, and this research shows that that's not the case -- if the macrophages are not present in the early phases of healing, regeneration does not occur," Dr Godwin said.

"Now, we need to find out exactly how these macrophages are contributing to regeneration. Down the road, this could lead to therapies that tweak the human immune system down a more regenerative pathway."

Salamanders deal with injury in a remarkable way. The end result is the complete functional restoration of any tissue, on any part of the body including organs. The regenerated tissue is scar free and almost perfectly replicates the injury site before damage occurred.

"We can look to salamanders as a template of what perfect regeneration looks like," Dr Godwin said.

Aside from "holy grail" applications, such as healing spinal cord and brain injuries, Dr Godwin believes that studying the healing processes of salamanders could lead to new treatments for a number of common conditions, such as heart and liver diseases, which are linked to fibrosis or scarring. Promotion of scar-free healing would also dramatically improve patients' recovery following surgery.

There are indications that there is the capacity for regeneration in a range of animal species, but it has, in most cases been turned off by evolution.

"Some of these regenerative pathways may still be open to us. We may be able to turn up the volume on some of these processes," Dr Godwin said.

"We need to know exactly what salamanders do and how they do it well, so we can reverse-engineer that into human therapies."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Monash University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. James W. Godwin, Alexander R. Pinto, and Nadia A. Rosenthal. Macrophages are required for adult salamander limb regeneration. PNAS, May 20, 2013 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1300290110

Cite This Page:

Monash University. "Do salamanders' immune systems hold the key to regeneration?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130520163727.htm>.
Monash University. (2013, May 20). Do salamanders' immune systems hold the key to regeneration?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130520163727.htm
Monash University. "Do salamanders' immune systems hold the key to regeneration?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130520163727.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
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

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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