An interdisciplinary team of scientists used advanced imaging techniques and found that tails
It turned out that the overgrown tail of the Americanalligator shows signs of regeneration and wound healing within the same structure. The regeneration of cartilage, blood vessels, nerves, and scales is very similar to the regeneration of a lizard's tail.
In addition, scientists have discovered a scar-likeconnective tissue instead of skeletal muscle in the regrown alligator tail. Future comparative studies of different types of reptiles will be important to understand why regenerative capacity differs in different groups of animals, the scientists note.
Alligators, lizards and humans belong to the groupanimals with a spine - amniotes. Scientists have previously studied the ability of lizards to regenerate their tails, but the discovery of complex new tails regrowth in alligators provides additional insight into the regeneration process in all amniotes.
The regrown alligator tail is different fromoriginal. The regrown scales are densely located, the dorsal shields are absent (top right). An unsegmented cartilaginous tube (yellow) replaces the bone (yellowish brown) in the regrown tail. In addition, the regrown tail lacks skeletal muscle (red) and instead contains a large amount of fibrous connective tissue (pink). Credit: Arizona State University
“If we understand how different animals are capable ofto repair and regenerate tissue, this knowledge can then be used to develop treatments for various diseases, ”said Rebecca Fisher, study co-author and professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine at Phoenix. The researchers hope their findings will help open up new therapeutic approaches to treating injuries and diseases such as arthritis.
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