Bone regrowth can now be enhanced in humans by manipulating activities of opposing molecular pathways.
Biologists at the University of Oregon have opened the window on the natural process of bone regeneration in zebra fish and the insights they gained could be used to advance therapies for bone fractures and disease.
The team has shown that two molecular pathways work in concert to allow adult zebra fish to perfectly replace bones lost upon fin amputation.
According to the authors, a mysterious process triggers residual cells to revert to a less developed state upon tissue damage, a process known as dedifferentiation and understanding the mechanisms could support the design of regenerative therapies that direct human cells to behave similarly and perfectly restore lost tissue.
The study will be published in the journal Cell Reports.