Animal hair, feathers may offer clues to restore human fingers and toes
Washington: While the concept of regenerative medicine is comparatively new, animals are well known to remake their hair and feathers regularly by normal regenerative physiological processes.
In their review, researchers have shed light on possible routes that unlock cellular regeneration in general, and the principles by which hair and feathers regenerate themselves in particular.
The authors, including Cheng-Ming Chuong, Randall B. Widelitz, Ping Wu, and Ting-Xin Jiang of the University of Southern California, and Valerie A. Randall of the University of Bradford, focus on how extrafollicular environments can regulate hair and feather stem cell activities and how different configurations of stem cells can shape organ forms in different body regions to fulfill changing physiological needs.
The review outlines previous research on the role of normal regeneration of hair and feathers throughout the lifespan of various birds and mammals.
The researchers include what is currently known about the mechanism behind this re-growth, as well as what gaps still exist in the knowledge base and remain ripe for future research.
The review examines dozens of papers on normal “physiological regeneration”—the re-growth that happens over the course of an animal`s life and not in response to an injury.
This regeneration takes place to accommodate different stages in an animal`s life (e.g., replacing downy chick feathers with an adult chicken`s, or replacing the fine facial hair of a young boy with the budding beard of an adolescent), or in response to various environmental conditions (e.g., cats shedding a thick winter coat in the summer heat but re-growing it when the seasons change again, or snowshoe hares switching from brown in the summer to white in the winter for camouflage).
These changes seem to respond both to internal cues such as physiology of the hair follicle itself, or external cues such as the environment, but the mechanisms behind these normal alterations are largely unknown.
Stem cells inside the follicle prompt hair and feather regeneration, but researchers are still unsure how to guide those cells to form the shape, size, and orientation of these “skin appendages” so that controlled re-growth is possible.
Additionally, scientists are still unsure how to re-grow hair on skin in people after severe injuries that lead to scar tissue.
The reviewed studies suggest that while researchers are making headway in understanding how and why hair and feathers regenerate after normal loss or in response to different life stages, much still remains unknown.
This missing knowledge could hold valuable clues to learning how to regenerate much more complicated and valuable structures after loss to injury, such as fingers and toes.
“Using the episodic regeneration of skin appendages as a clear readout, we have the opportunity to understand and modulate the behavior or adult stem cells and organ regeneration at a level heretofore unknown,” the authors said.
The study appears in the journal Physiology, published by the American Physiological Society.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Zee Media exclusive chat with 'Welcome to Karachi' cast
- Manali: Heavy corruption found in environmental taxes
- UP Minister allegedly threatens, abuses Gonda businessman
- UP: Jammu-bound Muri Express derails in Kaushambi
- Five unmanned parachute-like objects spotted over Mumbai airport
- Aapke Sitare: Astro prediction for May 24, 2015
- Watch: Fast N Facts @ 7:30pm
- Dawood's intercepted phone calls prove yet again he is in Pakistan
- CBSE Board Class 12th Exam Results 2015 declared
- One year of Modi govt: How satisfied is the common man?
- Jaipur girl Mini Rajpal wins Miss India Deaf 2015!
- Mumbai architecture creates double decker bus from scrap!
- One year of Modi govt: How satisfied is the common man? Part-2
- Delhi's 2015 CBSE Class 12 topper M Gayatri talks to Zee Media
- One year of Modi govt: PM addresses mega rally in Mathura
- IPL 2015 Final: MI vs CSK - As it happened...
- CBSE.nic.in 12th XII Results 2015: CBSE Board (cbseresults.nic.in) Class 12th XII Exam Results 2015 to be announced on May 25
- Heatwave continues in North India; death toll in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana more than 400
- IPL 2015 final: Mumbai Indians thrash Chennai Super Kings by 41 runs to lift second title
- Heatwave claims over 550 lives so far, Delhi saw hottest day
- LIVE - Cbse.nic.in & cbseresults.nic.in Class 12th XII Results 2015: CBSE Board Class 12th XII Exam Results 2015 to be announced shortly
- Cbse.nic.in & cbseresults.nic.in Class 12th XII Results 2015: CBSE Board Class 12th XII Exam Results 2015 declared
- Check cbseresults.nic.in for CBSE Class 12 result 2015
- Mathura rally: PM Modi slams 'corrupt' UPA regime, lauds NDA govt's efforts in past one year
- Two dead, over 100 injured as Muri Express derails in UP; Prabhu announces Rs 2 lakhs ex-gratia for kin of dead
- CBSE Class 12 results out: Here's how you can check
- PM Narendra Modi's Mathura rally: As it happened
- Check WBBSE (wbresults.nic.in) Class 12th Results: West Bengal Board (wbscvet.org) Higher Secondary Class XII Vocational Results to be declared today at 4 PM
- Public rally on 100 days of AAP govt: As it happened
- CBSE Board 12th XII Results 2015: Cbse.nic.in & cbseresults.nic.in Class 12th XII Exam Results 2015 to be announced today at 12 Noon