The Extracellular Matrix may Determine Regenerative Capacity in Mammals

Very shortly after birth, mammals are capable of far greater feats of regeneration than is the case for older individuals. The research community has put a fair amount of effort into determining why this is the case, though far less progress has been made here than in investigations of the biochemistry of highly regenerative species such as salamanders and zebrafish. This popular science article captures some of the present state of knowledge and uncertainty. Near future advances in medicine arising from this line of research seem unlikely at the present time, as by the look of it there is further to go yet in building a foundation of understanding sufficient to start talking about therapies.


Newborn mice are able to repair damaged heart tissue better than animals injured just a few days later in their lives. What accounts for this regenerative capacity, and exactly when and why it disappears, have been unanswered questions. A new report posits that the extracellular matrix (ECM) gets in the way of heart tissue renewal. The investigators also found that scarring was minimal in mice injured on their first day of life, but damage occurring after that, even just a day later, led to large


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