Read about our new work detailing bonafide tissue regeneration in two species of African spiny mice (A. percivali and A. kempi)
Check out the full paper: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v489/n7417/full/nature11499.html
And a nice commentary in Nature as well: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v489/n7417/full/489508a.html
Weak skin and tissue regeneration in African spiny mice (Acomys)
It is generally accepted that mammals have lost much of the regenerative capacity that lower vertebrates enjoy. Alternatively, the capacity to regenerate damaged tissue may be suppressed, locked away in favor of mechanisms that promote rapid and efficient wound healing. One of my research projects sent me to Kenya where I’ve been researching the ability that two species of African spiny mice possess to “come out of their skin” when attacked by a predator. As it turns out, this is not far from the truth. Our study has found that these mice have incredibly weak skin, so weak in fact that very small amounts of tension loaded rapidly induces tearing. In response to such tearing these mice display an ability to regenerate hair follicles in the wound bed, something most mammals fail to do in response to injury. Perhaps even more exciting is the ability of these mice to heal large circular ear holes by regenerating hair follicles, dermis and cartilage. While it has been known for some time that rabbits are capable of the same fantastic feat, the wealth of resources available for work in rodents makes this a tractable system for future study. As re-emergent interest in regenerative medicine seeks to isolate molecular pathways controlling tissue regeneration in mammals, Acomys may prove useful in identifying mechanisms to promote regeneration in lieu of fibrosis and scarring.
Check out the F1000 review as a “must read”; http://f1000.com/717958161#eval793462471
Below is a sampling of some nice press on the article.
Nature Podcast: http://www.nature.com/nature/podcast/index-2012-09-27.html
NPR All Things Considered: http://www.npr.org/2012/09/26/161817096/mammalian-surprise-african-mouse-can-regrow-skin