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
Switch-in-a-cell electrifies life
18.12.2018 | Rice University
Plant biologists identify mechanism behind transition from insect to wind pollination
18.12.2018 | University of Toronto
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy