The discovery that Holothuria glaberrima uses similar cellular mechanisms during wound healing and organ regeneration gives us the opportunity to discover how to repair our own wounds and, perhaps eventually, how to regenerate body parts.
The research was carried out by the investigators José San Miguel-Ruiz and José García-Arrarás, at the University of Puerto Rico. "Sea cucumbers should be viewed as the tissue regeneration equivalent of the squid for our knowledge of nerves and Drosophila for genes and the genome. They can help us learn to fix ourselves," commented Professor Garcia-Arraras.
"Many people, including scientists, regard sea cucumbers and other echinoderms like star fish and brittle stars as bizarre, exceptional outcasts because of their regenerative abilities. But we've shown that they use the same 'ordinary' mechanisms and processes to both regenerate and heal wounds."
All animals possess some kind of tissue repair mechanism. The sea cucumber, H. glaberrima, belongs to a group of marine animals that are well known for their ability to regenerate, along with the axolotl salamander, which is also famous for regrowing lost limbs. The scientists made observations over a four-week healing period and found that sea cucumbers healed up rapidly after receiving a 3 to 5 millimetre cut along the body wall.
The repair process involved special cells called morula cells moving to the injury site and full repair was achieved after just a couple of weeks. The cellular events observed during the healing of sea cucumber muscular, nervous and dermal tissues that correspond to those observed during intestinal regeneration include extracellular matrix remodeling and the dedifferentiation of muscle cells.
Although all animals have wound repair processes, not all regenerate injured or lost body parts. There must be some unusual properties of the healing processes found in animals capable of organ regeneration. So it remains to be seen at a molecular level what limits healing processes being used for regeneration by all animals in all tissue.
"Many of these regenerative mechanisms are the same as those being used by other animals to heal and repair - this includes us humans, "concluded Professor Garcia-Arraras. "Sea cucumbers will probably provide us with the key to deciphering how to regenerate our tissues, or at least find out what is needed to do this."
Charlotte Webber | alfa
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The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
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The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
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21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
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