Deer antlers have long captivated researchers due to their annual regrowth, providing an intriguing model for studying organ regeneration in mammals. Now, a team of researchers has created a single-cell atlas of antler regrowth, providing new insights into the cellular mechanisms responsible for rapid antler elongation.
Scientists published a study in Science that identified the earliest antler initiators as mesenchymal cells that expressed PRRX1, along with “antler blastema progenitor cells” (ABPCs) developed from these PRRX1+ mesenchymal cells and guided regeneration of antler tissue.
Further cross-species comparisons revealed ABPCs in several mammalian blastema, suggesting these cells may be involved in organ regeneration in other animals as well.
This study also observed a spatially organized pattern of cellular and gene expression within antler growth centers during their peak stage, providing insight into the cellular processes causing rapid antler elongation.
Studies conducted both in vivo and in vitro revealed that ABPCs possessed strong self-renewal capabilities, capable of producing osteochondral lineage cells – suggesting their potential therapeutic uses in regenerative medicine.
“This study not only sheds new light on the cellular mechanisms governing antler regrowth, but it also offers a useful model for studying organ regeneration in mammals,” Suggested lead author Qin T.
The discovery of stem cells with strong regenerative potential in deer antlers has opened up exciting new directions in research into regenerative medicine, with potential applications to human health.
The study of antler regrowth provides a useful model for researching organ regeneration in mammals, and the recent development of a single-cell atlas of antler regrowth marks an important advance in this field.
Science magazine published a study that demonstrated the earliest antler initiators were mesenchymal cells that express PRRX1 gene (PRRX1+ mesenchymal cells). Furthermore, they identified an array of “antler blastema progenitor cells” (ABPCs) derived from these PRRX1+ mesenchymal cells and responsible for initiating regeneration within an antlers.
The discovery of these ABPCs could have major ramifications for regenerative medicine, as both in vivo and in vitro ABPCs demonstrated strong self-renewal capacity and were capable of producing osteochondral lineage cells.
Furthermore, cross-species comparisons revealed ABPCs in several mammalian blastema cells, suggesting these cells may be involved in the regeneration of other organs as well.
At the peak growth stage of antler regrowth, researchers observed a spatially structured pattern of cellular and gene expression within the antler growth center, providing insight into the cellular mechanisms responsible for rapid antler elongation.
This study was coordinated by a team of researchers from several institutions, such as the Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, and University of Georgia.
In conclusion, the discovery of stem cells with strong regenerative potential in deer antlers is a landmark development in regenerative medicine and could offer novel insights into organ regeneration in mammals.
Source- Qin T, Zhang G, Zheng Y, Li S, Yuan Y, Li Q, Hu M, Si H, Wei G, Gao X, Cui X, Xia B, Ren J, Wang K, Ba H, Liu Z, Heller R, Li Z, Wang W, Huang J, Li C, Qiu Q. A population of stem cells with strong regenerative potential discovered in deer antlers. Science. 2023 Feb 24;379(6634):840-847. doi: 10.1126/science.add0488. Epub 2023 Feb 23. PMID: 36821675.
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