Monday 18 January 2016

Regrowing functional joints in frogs

Kyoto University paves the way for regeneration of amputated limbs

Date:January 14, 2016
Source:Kyoto University

In a first, Japanese researchers have regenerated functional joints in frogs by activating a newly-found "reintegration" mechanism. Further understanding of this process may help transplanted tissues integrate with the original organs and limbs after surgical removal or amputation.

"We expect that by applying this approach to other animals, we may also achieve functional joint regeneration in mammals, including humans, in the future," says Kyoto University study author Kiyokazu Agata.

Some animals -- for instance newts -- can regenerate a smaller, but fully functioning limb after the original has become detached. Frogs are considered to be the intermediate between such animals and mammals, that cannot regenerate limbs. Frogs regenerate "spikes," which are cartilage rods protruding from the disfigured area. These new cartilage limbs lack joints, and are therefore unable to bend at will.

A functional joint requires integration of multiple tissues: two opposing skeletal elements forming an interlocking structure, and muscles which insert into skeletal tissues via tendons across joints. Newts, but not frogs, are capable of reconnecting these tissues.

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