Studying the skin regeneration capability of a species of mice could provide more clues towards developing new treatments for healing wounds without any scarring, a new study published in the journal Nature reveals.
Researchers led by Dr Ashley Seifert from the University of Florida found that not only did the skin on the tail of the African spiny mouse came off easily, a trait beneficial in escaping from predators, it also grew back as good as new. The researchers also found that this ability of regrowing skin, known as autotomy, was also true to the rest of the mouse's body.
Studying further on how the process occurs, the researchers found that unlike in mammals, where the process is incomplete and leads to formation of a scar, the regeneration in African spiny mouse was aided by a molecule known as collagen III. The researchers also found that the deposition of extracellular matrix was slower compared to other mice, dogs and humans.
"These mice appear to deposit extracellular matrix into their wounds at a slower rate than mice, pigs or humans. Although many scientists are trying to speed up the healing process, our studies on spiny mice and salamanders show that slowing things down is the path towards regeneration", Dr Seifert said.