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The Possibility of Regrowing Lost Limbs: A Scientific Breakthrough

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Warren Henry
Warren Henry is a tech geek and video game enthusiast whose engaging and immersive narratives explore the intersection of technology and gaming.

Scientists have been able to grow antler-like structures on the foreheads of mice by transplanting deer stem cells into them.

Deer antlers are shed and grow back each year, and in the spring they grow an inch a day.

In their new study, researchers at Northwestern Polytechnic University in Xi’an, China, have identified the cells responsible for this regrowth.

And just 45 days after transplanting these cells onto the foreheads of hairless experimental mice, they began to see the growth of small stems.

The team hopes that the procedure could one day be used to restore bones or cartilage in humans, or even to restore lost limbs.

Deer antlers are the only part of a mammal’s body that regenerates every year, and is one of the fastest growing living tissues in nature.

After some animals lose a limb, a group of cells called a blastema develops, which can eventually develop into cells that cause that limb to grow back.

Deer have blastocysts that regenerate antler tissue and bones after molting.

And in 2020, another group of scientists discovered that they could grow stems on the heads of mice by inserting a piece of horn tissue under their skin on their foreheads.

But for the new study, published in the journal Science, the researchers wanted to identify specific blastula cells in tissues responsible for the regenerative effects.

The team used RNA sequencing to study 75,000 Cervus nippon sika deer cells in tissue near their antlers.

By performing this technique on cages before, during, and after the animal’s horns were shed, they were able to pinpoint which horns had begun to regrow.

The results showed that 10 days before the antler moult, stem cells were abundant in the antlers, the stems left on the day of the molt.

Five days after the loss, these cells produced a distinct subtype of stem cells that the team called “antler progenitor cells” (ABPCs).

By day 10 post-moult, ABPCs began to turn into cartilage and bones.

After finding the cells responsible for the regrowth of deer antlers, the team then cultured the ABPC in a petri dish.

Five days later, they transplanted the cells between the mice’s ears, where they grew into a “horn-like structure” with cartilage and bones in just 45 days.

While the results are preliminary, the researchers believe they could have important implications for humans.

And the induction of human cells into ABPC-like cells can be used in regenerative medicine for skeletal injuries or limb regeneration.

Source: Daily Mail

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