Research, Technology

Unexpected Benefits of Aging Zombie Cells in Salamanders

Salamanders are beautiful creatures - unusually nimbleand beautiful. They have many unusual qualities, as well as completely different colors. And they also attract scientists, but more as studies naturally. Thus, studies have shown that these little dragons have zombie cells, or senescent cells, in simple words, they are responsible for aging, that is, they permanently stop dividing. But surprisingly, these cells, even after they grow old, continue their work, stimulating the production of new muscle fibers, which in turn contributes to the regeneration of lost limbs in salamanders. Experiments with this process could lead to new treatments for age-related diseases, the study authors believe.

The aging process is associated with the accumulation of damagein the DNA of cells. Factors such as the environment, ultraviolet radiation, free radicals, and other oxidative stressors can cause DNA damage in cells, resulting in impaired function.

Cells responsible for aging and their features

New research shows that senescentcells are not only a problem of aging, but also a potential source of valuable properties. Unlike ordinary cells, they stop dividing in response to stress, but still remain alive. Over time, the number of these cells in the body increases, which is associated with age-related changes and the development of various diseases, including cancer. However, the true nature of senescent cells is much more complex and depends on the specific context.

Salamanders breathe through their skin. The salamander's skin is an important organ for respiration, and through it they can obtain oxygen from the environment.

It is interesting to note that recent studiesindicate the potential positive effects of senescent cells. It turns out that these cells can have a beneficial effect, promoting wound healing and preventing the formation of scar tissue. Previous studies have also found that senescent cells are present at key stages of limb regeneration in salamanders. Importantly, subsequent studies by other scientific groups have shown the presence of these cells in other contexts of regeneration, including in mammals. In this regard, the scientists decided to find out what role these cells can play in the regeneration process and whether they affect its success.

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How zombie cells promote regeneration

Recent studies have drawn the attention of scientists tosalamanders, the peculiarities of their regeneration and unique abilities to restore lost limbs. The process of limb regeneration in the salamander is a phenomenal phenomenon in which a fully functional limb can grow back in a few weeks.

Senescent cells also often show increased activation of the body's inflammatory system. This is known as "inflammatory aging" or "inflammatory phenotype".

Scientists are interested in the question of the influencesenescent cells on the regeneration process and decided to check how their number in the wound affects this. As a result of the study, they found that the presence of senescent cells actually enhances the regeneration process. However, the question arises: how does this happen?

The researchers found that when in a woundmore senescent cells are present, a larger chain of regeneration, or blastema, as scientists call it, is formed. The blastema is a group of cells that play a crucial role in the formation of a new limb, restoring all the necessary tissues. The larger the blastema, the more cells are available for limb growth, and the faster regeneration occurs. Aging cells seem to play the role of "stimulators" of the regeneration process.

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However, scientists did not stop there andcontinued to investigate “zombies” with and without the participation of senescent cells in more detail. In the course of their research, they discovered a new mechanism that also enhances the regeneration process. Specifically, they found that the presence of senescent cells increased the number of regenerating muscle cells. It turned out that aging cells secrete factors that stimulate nearby muscle tissues to return to earlier stages of development and produce new muscles.

The results show that senescent cellsuse cell-cell communication to influence the regeneration process. They secrete molecules that signal mature muscle fibers to dedifferentiate into muscle precursor cells. These cells can multiply and also differentiate (divide) into new muscle cells, thereby enhancing the regeneration process.

Dedifferentiation is the process of reversedevelopment or loss of differences that exist between two or more different groups, organisms or cells. In simpler terms, this means that different elements or organisms become more similar to each other. For a better understanding, an example from biology can be given. During embryonic development, different cells in the body often go through a process of differentiation in which they become specialized for certain functions, such as heart cells, nerve cells, etc. However, sometimes, under certain conditions, cells can go through a process of dedifferentiation in which they lose their specialization and become more similar to other cell types. In a general sense, dedifferentiation means a decrease in differences or a return to a more general state.

Significance of salamanders for the study of regeneration

At the moment, a group of scientists is actively engaged inthe study of muscles - one of the key tissues necessary for the regeneration of the limbs. True, it should be noted that it is also necessary to expand research to find out how signaling of senescent cells affects the regeneration of other tissues.

There are about 550 species of salamanders in the world. They belong to the amphibian family and live in a variety of regions, including forests, mountainous areas, swamps, and even underground caves.

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The authors focus on researchsalamanders to reveal the processes of regeneration and aging. As you know, salamanders are one of the few animal species that do not appear to be subject to the natural aging process. They do not show the characteristic signs of aging and do not suffer from age-related diseases such as cancer. Moreover, they have an amazing ability to self-heal, the ability to restore almost any organ in their body.

The study of salamanders plays an important role in understanding the basic principles of regeneration, and in the long term may help unravel the mystery of the limited possibilities of regeneration in humans.