Need a new hand?One day you may be able to regrow one

EJ Mandel
HealthDay Reporter

Wednesday, January 6 (HealthDay News)-Every year, thousands of Americans lose their fingers, hands, or entire limbs in a terrible accident. Artificial limbs can help amputees regain some function, and recently successful hand transplants have been achieved.

But wouldn’t it be great if you could easily recreate what humans lack?

According to scientists, within the space of generations, this seemingly superhuman power could become a reality, and people may have few amphibians to appreciate it.

Among the various creatures in the world, the Mexican salamander, called the axolotl, is best suited to re-grow the entire limb lost in the injury. And researchers are enthusiastic about finding out what the axolotl has, which humans don’t have.

“The core of what we are doing in this study is to understand the basic biology of regeneration and to be able to translate it into regenerative therapy,” said a biologist who is a pioneer in this field. David Stocom, director of the Center for Regenerative Biology, said. Medicine and Medicine at Indiana University in Bloomington.

His team recently got a little closer and reported in a journal about an important part of the Axolotl play puzzle. BioMed Central Biology..

The Stocum group is capable of producing the various tissue types needed to regenerate amputated limbs because a cellular protein called EVI5 appears to give cells at the wound site time to regroup and specialize. I found.

As Stocum points out, humans have a very limited ability to regenerate complex tissues, fingertips.

It’s not a small feat in itself. “There are bones at the fingertips, there are tendons, there is nerve tissue,” Stocam said. “And nails are a variant of the epidermis of the skin. [The fingertip] It’s a fairly complex organization. “

Still, it goes as far as it goes for the regeneration of mature humans. Other animals can regenerate their own complex parts (for example, many fish regenerate lost fins), and the common frog has strong regenerative power as a tadpole, but matures. Mysteriously they lose them as they go.

Stocam’s work with both axolotl and frogs provided interesting clues to regeneration. In salamanders, the cut site is not closed by scar tissue like most other animals. Instead, cell ridges called precursor cells form in the damaged area.

The cells that collect in the blasts not only travel in one direction, but also form scar tissue. Instead, they flock and go through a process called “dedifferentiation.” This directs each cell to the specific different tissue types needed to replace the salamander limbs (bones, muscles, nerves). The process relies on a complex chain of interconnected biochemical signals, most of which remains a mystery, Stokham said.

But now playing an important role is the EVI5 protein, which appears to be braking blast cell division. Until Appropriate cell dedifferentiation is complete. In essence, Stocum said high levels of EVI5 direct the wound area to “wait for a small pile of blast cells before it begins to divide.”

However, there is no guarantee that a similar system will work in humans. For one thing, “it’s pretty well known that the formation of precursor cells doesn’t cause fingertip regeneration like salamanders,” Stokham pointed out. When it comes to salamanders, we need to understand more of the ingredients in regenerated cocktails.

Currently, Stocum’s team is busy comparing the process of axolotl regeneration with that seen in tadpoles but not in mature frogs.

“It will give us a handle on why frogs lose the power of regeneration,” he said.

Another expert agreed that the journey to help humans regenerate lost body parts is just beginning.

According to Dr. Stephen Badillac, “It’s important to take a closer look at the axolotl because we need to identify what. [the human] The defect is, “Is it possible for us to do that? Is it in our genome?”

Buddy Luck, the next president of the International Association for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine and Director of Tissue Engineering at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, is optimistic that human fingers and limbs can be regenerated. .. But he added that it could take decades before that happens. In the meantime, he said, regenerative medicine should bring smaller but valuable medical benefits.

For example, Badylak’s group is currently working with the US Department of Defense to develop better, scarless wound healing for soldiers. And he believes scientists are on track to regrow parts of the body with simpler structures such as organs such as the heart muscle and kidneys.

“Understand such things before they are really complicated,” said Badillac. “Fingers, arms, hands-these are very complex parts of the body.”

Stocum agreed that small discoveries inevitably precede large ones. Meanwhile, he said, bioengineers are creating better, more sensitive prostheses for today’s amputees. This is a device that I couldn’t even imagine a few years ago.

Still, Stokham admitted that “there is nothing better than the real thing.”

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Source: David Stocum, Ph.D. , Professor, Faculty of Biology, and Director of the Bloomington Center for Regenerative Biology Medicine, Indiana University. Stephen Badylak, DVM, Ph.D., MD, Research Professor, Department of Surgery, Director, Tissue Engineering, University of Pittsburgh McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and Next President of the International Association for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. November 30, 2009, BioMed Central Biology,online

Need a new hand?One day you may be able to regrow one

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