Tritons turn muscle cells into stem cells to regenerate limbs

Tritons turn muscle cells into stem cells to regenerate limbs

Biologists from the University of Tsukuba studied the process of regeneration in the Japanese flame-broken triton. They monitored the condition of muscle fibers during the limb recovery, while body growth and metamorphosis were experimentally delayed or accelerated. The results show that metamorphosis and body growth are necessary for muscle dedistinguishing.

Tritons, semi-water salamanders, like most other amphibians, are subjected to metamorphosis. This is a profound transformation of the body structure occurring during the development of the individual. But, unlike their relatives, the tritons are capable of regenerating limbs, even at an adult stage.

In order to restore limbs, the tritons dediffer in the limb cult muscle fibers and mobilize them to form muscles in the regenerating limbs as they grow after metamorphosis.

In other experiments, scientists have cultivated triton larvae muscles with a physiologically active thyroid hormone, and it turns out that these fibers can dediffer regardless of body growth and metamorphosis, and these results show that the triton muscle fibers have their inherent ability to dediffer, but to activate this ability the fibers need external factors to explain the autonomies of the work.

We assume that changes in the extracellular environment associated with development suppress the activity of myogenic stem cells — cells that can differentiate into muscle fibers — and contribute to the hidden ability of muscle fibers to dediffer.

The authors believe that the results of this study will contribute to a better understanding of the regeneration processes as well as to the development of techniques for the recovery of damaged muscles in humans through regeneration.

Image on the cover: Wuchthans