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 A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
21.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections

21.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Smart Computers

21.08.2017 | Information Technology

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>