Fingernails Point to Limb Regeneration

Friday, June 14, 2013


A study published in the journal Nature states that researchers from the New York University have shed light on the fact that the limb regeneration could be possible just like nail growths.

Researchers observed that while mammals have the ability to regenerate nails and hair, they also have the ability to re–grow nerves and bones. They discovered a group of self–renewing stem cells in the nail matrix that stimulates the nail growth. The stem cells depend on a group of proteins known as the ‘Wnt signalling network’, the same protein which leads to the hair and tissue growth. In an experiment, researchers blocked this network in mice only to discover that the nails did not grow back as it should. Thereafter, they observed that they can even manipulate the protein to stimulate bone regeneration and tissue close to the fingertip.

Scientists suggest that the Wnt signalling network can essentially solve the puzzle for re–growing the amputated limbs. The team would now analyse molecular mechanisms that could control the network with the nail stem cells to influence the re–growth of nails.

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