WUFT News

Mouse holds genetic key to regeneration

By on October 19th, 2012

An African mouse’s ability to regenerate body parts may have implications for medical treatment in humans, according to a recent study by UF researchers.

The African spiny mouse can regenerate cartilage, skin and hair follicles on its ears – a mechanism previously only seen in amphibians to escape predators.

The mouse may serve as a vital link to understanding the genetics of regeneration, according to UF Department of Biology postdoctoral fellow Ashley Seifert, who led the study.

The findings suggest that human bodies could regrow or repair organs in the body with an increased healing rate or without scarring.

“If you can learn how to control that and you interrupt that process in a normal condition, then that leads to therapy in humans,” Seifert said.

Skin is an organ and generally scars after damage, a process called fibrosis. Malcolm Madem, who also worked on the study, described fibrosis as glue.

“It turns out that this particular spiny mouse responds body-wide by not making this glue and allowing regeneration and extends to other organs,” Madem said. “For example, you could imagine that it might not happen in heart damage. So, this mouse might not make glue after heart damage but actually regenerate heart tissue.”

The phenomenon was first noticed when the mice were caught in cages, and it seemed as though their skin had been torn off. The mouse has weak skin so it can escape predators, Seifert said.

Researchers punched 4-millimeter holes in the mice’s ears in order to record the healing process. Around 100 mice are being tested in Kenya at the Mpala Research Centre.

Maden and Seifert travel to Nairobi, Kenya, annually to conduct field research. After financing themselves initially when the study began in 2009, the team now stands to receive grant money from the National Science Foundation.

“That’s partly why it’s taken such a long time – because unfortunately there aren’t similar spiny mice in Florida,” Maden said. “So we have to go back every year until we organize a colony of spiny mice here in Florida.”

Kelly Price edited this story online.


This entry was posted in Health and Science, University of Florida and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Health and Science

Dr. Ellen Zimmerman, 58, is a gastro neurologist at Shands Hospital at the University of Florida and a professor at the UF College of Medicine.  In her opinion, not the opinion of the university, medical marijuana has quite a few risk factors for patients with Crohn’s Disease, giving rise to her vote of “no” on the failed Amendment 2.

Crohn’s Disease Patient Still Looking For Answers After Amendment 2 Fails

Amendment 2 failed in Florida by a narrow margin, resulting in outrage from the bill’s supporters. A student who suffers from Crohn’s disease gives his perspective on the use of marijuana for medical purposes in the wake of continued debate.


The Alachua County Fire Rescue upgraded  the wireless routers in its ambulances. The ACFR received a grant of $41,200 from both UF Health Shands Hospital and North Florida Regional Medical Center to afford the update.

Alachua Fire Rescue Upgrades Ambulance Routers for Enhanced Patient Care

With help from area hospitals, Alachua County Fire Rescue has upgraded the wireless routers inside their ambulances, which transmit patient information to the hospital prior to their arrival.


CDC Creates Stricter Guidelines For Treatment Of Ebola Patients

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have created stricter guidelines for the treatment of Ebola patients. The new guidelines address training and hands-on experience, preventing skin exposure, and strict observation of putting on and taking off Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).


Hydrocodone has been moved to a stricter schedule II drug from a schedule III, making it more difficult to obtain for prescribed patients.

Hydrocodone Now More Difficult to Obtain for Prescribed Users

The Drug Enforcement Agency is tightening restrictions on oxycodone, making it more difficult for prescribed patients to obtain refills for their prescriptions.


Local Student Develops Epilepsy App, Wins $75,000

Amir Helmy’s science fair project idea has since developed into Seizario, an app that will allow epilepsy patients to monitor their seizures using the sensors from smartphones.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments