Researchers have found out the stem cells that will aid the nails in coming back after they are lost.
A team of USC Stem Cell researchers led by principal investigator Krzysztof Kobielak and co-first authors Yvonne Leung and Eve Kandyba has discovered nail stem cells, which undergo differentiation to form multiple tissues.
"That was a very surprising discovery, since the dual characteristic of these nail stem cells to regenerate both the nail and skin under certain physiological conditions is quite unique and different from other skin stem cells, such as those of the hair follicle or sweat gland," principal investigator Krzysztof Kobielak said in a university news release.
Usually, the stem cells help both the nails and nearby skin to grow. But as per the study, if a nail is damaged or destroyed, the stem cells only help in nail repair.
According to the researchers, these stem cells could be used to grow tissue for other body parts and this could mean that someday doctors can work on getting back lost limbs or organs.
If the nail is injured or lost, a protein called bone morphogenic protein, or BMP, signals to the stem cells to function only for nail repair.