Swiss researchers have decoded the mechanism behind sea urchins’ self-healing powers. Salamanders can regrow lost limbs and organs. According to a new study, the process behind this is more complex than previously thought. She said that the results published in the journal Science Communications have far-reaching implications for regenerative medicine in humans.
As announced by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), the results will provide insight into the possibility of limb regrowth in mammals. In vertebrates, the so-called “apical ectoderm series” (AER) plays an important role. The apical ectoderm is a thin layer of cells present on the limb bud of the embryo during its early development. It controls growth by sending signals to underlying tissues.
According to researchers at EPFL and the Technical University of Dresden (TU Dresden), previous studies have been unable to clarify whether sea urchins also use AER cells to regrow their limbs. According to the new study, sea urchin limbs do not produce full AER cells during regeneration. The study showed that the sea urchin uses parts of the basic AER limb development program – like other species – but they are distributed across different cell types. “Although it was previously thought that there was a universal method for limb regeneration, our results point to a more complex reality,” Jixing Zhong, the study’s lead author, wrote in an EPFL statement.
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