October 24, 2019
Some animals, including salamanders, lizards and zebrafish are able to regrow cartilage. It has been thought that humans do not have this ability, which is why some of us develop conditions like osteoarthritis.
Researchers from Duke University and Lund University have discovered this is notthe case. They investigated cartilage in different parts of the body and discovered that cartilage regenerates at different rates. The cartilage in the ankles regenerates faster than that in the knees, which regenerates faster than that in the hips. This regenerative ability of our cartilage suggests that human cartilage has a limited ability to regenerate.
This regeneration is caused by microRNA, molecules that are commonly found in animals that can regenerate their cartilage. A better understanding of this regenerative capacity of human cartilage, and the regulation of this process could one day lead to improved treatments to repair damaged joint tissue. One day it may even be possible for medical professionals to harness the power of microRNA and regulatory factors to create a ‘molecular cocktail’. This could then be used to allow arthritis patients to completely regrow their damaged cartilage, or maybe even allow people to regrow parts of damaged limbs.
Source: National Post
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