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Sodium plays key role in tissue regeneration
Date:9/28/2010

or just one hour can overcome a variety of problems, such as the decline in regenerative ability that comes with age and the effect of regeneration-blocking drugs," said Tufts Professor of Biology Michael Levin, Ph.D., corresponding author on the paper and director of the Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology at Tufts. Co-authors were Research Associate Ai-Sun Tseng, Postdoctoral Associate Wendy S. Beane, Research Associate Joan M. Lemire, and Alessio Masi, a former post-doctoral associate in Levin's laboratory.

The transport of ions in and out of cells is regulated by electronic security doors, or gates, that let in specific ions under certain circumstances. A role for sodium current in tissue regeneration had been proposed in the past, but this is the first time the molecular-genetic basis of the ion flow has been identified, and a specific drug-based treatment demonstrated. Until now, advances in this model system had involved administering therapies before the injury was sustained.

"This is a novel, biomedically-relevant approach to inducing regeneration of a complex appendage," noted Levin.

The Tufts research established a novel role in regeneration for the sodium channel Nav1.2, a crucial component of nerve and cardiac function. It showed that local, early increase in intracellular sodium is required for initiating regeneration following Xenopus tail amputation, while molecular and pharmacological inhibition of sodium transport causes regenerative failure. The new treatment induced regeneration only of correctly-sized and patterned tail structures and did not generate ectopic or other abnormal growth.

"The ability to restore regeneration using a temporally-controllable pharmacological approach not requiring gene therapy is extremely exciting," said the researchers.

Of critical importance, they said, was the discovery that the tail could be induced to regenerate as late as 18 hours after amputation,
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Contact: Kim Thurler
kim.thurler@tufts.edu
617-627-3175
Tufts University
Source:Eurekalert  

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