Salamanders, masters of tissue regeneration

Salamanders, masters of tissue regeneration

If you liked to chase small lizards as children, more than once you have been left with the tail of one in your hand, while she was terrified.

The little animal knew very well what it was doing and sacrificed its tail in exchange for fleeing from your claws, but the loss did not last long and soon it had a brand new tail that would help it to escape again in case of danger.

And it is that the lizard, like many other animals, such as the starfish or axolotl, has the ability to regenerate some parts of its body, but the truth is that none of them does it as darn well as the salamander, that you can lose without fear virtually any of your organs and also during all his life, unlike other species that can only do it in the larval stage. Curious, isn’t it?

What do we know about salamanders?

Unlike other species that we have talked about in the curious animals section, the salamander is well known to all of us.

It’s about a amphibian of customs so terrestrial that only goes into the water to give birth. What’s more, some subspecies They don’t even deign to get wet for it and decide to deposit their larvae in the ground.

His body is colored black, covered in yellow spots, which can also sometimes be mixed with red specks, and their size ranges from 18 and 25 centimeters, tail included, although females are usually slightly larger.

Ovovivparaand of night habits, the salamander has such an intelligent design that, rather than the result of evolution, it seems to be the work of the best scientists and engineers, since it has enormously advantageous characteristics, such as poisoned skin with colors capable of driving away the bravest of predators and, as I said, a great regeneration capacity.

What does the regeneration capacity of the salamander consist of?

amputation-salamander (2)

As I was saying, although many other animals can also regenerate certain parts of their body, none does it with the salamander teacher. And it is that the same regenerates its extremities that organs as important as the brain, the heart, the spinal cord or even the eyes!

Other amphibians, like the axolotl, have similar characteristics, but lose them once the metamorphosis towards the adult stage. Instead, the salamander continues to repeat magic for the rest of its life and, although until recently it was a mystery how it did it, a group of researchers from the Tsukuba University, in Japan, they just completed a study in Nature in which they uncover the trick of the amphibian.

For the conduct of the experiment, these scientists used a set of transgenic salamanders, to which being unicellular embryos an active gene was introduced into the muscle fibers, and they monitored the changes of their cells during the process of regeneration, before and after metamorphosis.

It is generally known that when a salamander loses one of its limbs, a mass of cells called the blastema, than to be the one to regenerate the new limb. But where do these cells come from?

Thanks to this experiment, they have been able to observe that it depends on the stage in which the animal is. When they are still larvaethey use the muscle stem cells that, as you know, have not yet been differentiated. However, when they are already Adultsrecruit skeletal muscle fibers already formed. In addition, they verified that the same thing happens with skin, bones, and nerve fibers.

This discovery, in addition to exposing how salamanders regenerate, represents a great step towards tissue regeneration in other species, including mammals. This is a curious animal, right?

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