Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Antlers could hold clues to stem cell research

02.02.2006


Research carried out by veterinary scientists at the Royal Veterinary College reveals that deer antler regeneration may use stem cells and involves similar mechanisms to those used in limb development. The research could take us towards a ‘holy grail’ in human medicine: the ability to restore organs damaged through trauma, disease, cancer or excision.

Many lower animals such as newts can renew damaged parts of their bodies but antler growth is the only example of mammals being able to regrow large complex organs.

Deer antlers are large structures made of bone that annually grow, die, are shed and then regenerate. Although dead tissue when used for fighting, during growth they consist of living bone, cartilage blood vessels and fibrous tissue covered in skin.



The research suggests that unlike the regenerative process in the newt, antler growth does not involve reversal of the differentiated state but is stem cell based. Antler growth appears to involve specific stimulation of the necessary stem cells present in the locality. If we can understand how deer have adapted the normal means of development, cell renewal and repair to redevelop a complete organ, it may be possible to achieve the same outcome in damaged human tissues.

The research also shows that developmental signaling pathways are important. ’Antler-specific’ molecules may not exist and growth may be a particular use of molecules that all mammals share. There is similarity in the signals used to stimulate antler growth and those used for other processes.

Antler shedding is triggered by a fall in the hormone testosterone, a hormonal change that is linked to an increase in day length. Although the antler growth cycle, from the shedding of the velvet skin and casting of the dead antler to regrowth, is closely linked to testosterone, oestrogen may be a key cellular regulator, as it is in the skeleton of other male mammals. Identifying how hormonal and environmental cues interact with local signalling pathways to control antler stem cell behaviour could have an important impact on human health, if this knowledge is applied to the engineering of new human tissues and organs.

Professor Joanna Price, who heads research on antler regeneration at the Royal Veterinary College, said “The regeneration of antlers remains one of the mysteries of biology but we are moving some way to understanding the mechanisms involved. Antlers provide us with a unique natural model that can help us understand the basic process of regeneration although we are still a long way from being able to apply this work to humans”.

Stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body. Serving as a sort of repair system for the body, they can theoretically divide without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is alive. Stem cell research can help develop therapies for diseases that do not have any treatment at the present time, and develop new approaches towards prevention and treatment of debilitating diseases affecting the nervous system and key organs, such as Parkinson’s.

Jenny Murray | alfa
Further information:
http://www.communicationsmanagement.co.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Individual Receptors Caught at Work
19.10.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Rapid environmental change makes species more vulnerable to extinction
19.10.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>