When we are injured, our first instinct is to make sure it doesn’t get infected. A scar will form as the wound heals. Scars are therefore inevitable after an injury. They form a barrier that prevents germs from entering our body.
But are these markers really useful? A new article published in Developmental Dynamics magazine actually claims that there is an even more incredible form of healing. This is characterized by the regeneration of damaged body parts. Apparently, therefore, our beliefs about the importance of scars should be challenged!
A great discovery
Granted, the idea of getting the human body to regenerate limbs sounds pretty crazy, but that’s exactly what James Godwin, researcher at Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDI) and lead author of the study, and his co-workers are looking for. understand.
In their work, the researchers say they found a huge difference in the immune system response of an axolotl and a mammal to injury. If you didn’t already know, axolotls are a very rare species of salamander. They impress with their unique ability to regrow almost everything in their bodies.
Macrophage, the immunological cell that changes everything
Of course, some lizards and amphibians have fairly spectacular regenerative abilities, but the axolotls take this ability to the highest level. In addition to their limbs, they are able to form a new lungs, a new spinal cord, but also a new heart or brain, to name a few.
By investigating why axolotls have such impressive regenerative abilities that mammals like mice do not, the researchers made a particularly interesting discovery. As Futurism notes, they discovered that the key appears to be an immunological cell called a macrophage.
“Activate the levers of regeneration in humans”
Macrophages are the cells that enable axolotls to regenerate the components of their body. In mice and humans, these promote healing rather than regeneration. Godwin believes there should be a way to change this. “Our research shows that humans have untapped regeneration potential,” he said in a statement.
And to add, “We are getting closer to understanding how axolotl macrophages trigger regeneration, which brings us closer to the ability to activate regeneration levers in humans.” The researcher hopes that the discovery will one day improve the recovery of patients with disease damage organs such as the heart, kidneys, liver or lungs.
“For example, you could take a topical hydrogel at the wound level and combine it with a modulator that modifies the behavior of human macrophages to make them more similar to that of axolotl,” he explained, according to Interestingengineering.com.
The axolotl is an extraordinary animal in many ways. Photo credit: Shutterstock / ArnPas