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02.10.2018

Principles of limb regeneration in salamanders show link to mammals

A regenerated limb in a transgenic axolotl, in which different cell types express different fluorescent proteins. Scale bar is 300 micro metres. © IMP / W. Masselink

Scientists have long argued over which cells enable salamanders to grow back lost limbs. By tracking lineages and characterising individual cells, researchers could now show that connective tissue cells develop stem-cell-like properties and underlie the regeneration of legs. The findings were published in the journal "Science".

Dunja Knapp, postdoc at DFG Research Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD): "When we started this work, it was unclear whether blastema-like cells exist in the mature uninjured limbs ready to get activated in case of an injury. Now we carefully looked through thousands of cells in uninjured limbs and haven't found a single cell like it. This indicated that an injury stimulates reprogramming of mature cells in the limbs. Now it will be important to figure out if an injury can induce similar changes in mature mammalian cells."

Complete press release

Publication in Science