On February 24, 2023, Science magazine published an article entitled “A population of stem cells with strong regenerative potential discovered in deer antlers” online, which was jointly completed by the School of Ecology and Environment of Northwestern Polytechnical University and many units at home and abroad. Qin Tao, the 2020 doctoral student at NPU, is the first author of the article, Professor Qiu Qiang and Professor Wang Wen of NPU, as well as researchers from relevant units, are the corresponding authors of the article.
In nature, the gecko will soon grow a new tail after its tail is broken, and the newt will grow new limbs after its limbs are damaged. This process of self-repairing and replacing the lost structure is called “regeneration”. The research on “regeneration” has always been the focus of scientists at home and abroad.
How to regenerate the organs and appendages of mammals (including humans) is of great significance for realizing the repair of tissue and organ damage and combating organ aging in the future. For a long time, scientists have been trying to find answers from lower vertebrates with extremely strong regeneration abilities, such as zebrafish and newts, but there is still a lack of in-depth analysis of the mammalian regeneration mechanisms.
The deer antler is the only organ in mammals that can regenerate periodically and completely under natural conditions. Therefore, the study of antler regeneration ability is conducive to further understanding the regeneration mechanism of mammals.
In this paper, the authors established the cell atlas of deer antler regeneration and development, systematically described the cellular and molecular mechanism of deer antler regeneration and rapid growth, and found the unique stem cell group in the antler regeneration process. This stem cell group is the core cell group of antler regeneration ability and is the necessary condition of antler regeneration ability. Through further experimental verification, the cell group showed a strong ability for self-renewal, osteogenesis, cartilage differentiation and bone repair. This research provided a new understanding of the research of mammalian regeneration ability and provides a new research direction for mammalian bone repair and human bone regeneration medicine.
Schematic Diagram of Regeneration after Antler Shedding
The evolutionary genomics research team led by Professor Wang Wen of the School of Ecology and Environment carried out research around the genetic innovation mechanism of the evolution of animal special traits. This paper is a key step for the team to explore the application of biomedicine bionics. In recent years, the team has focused on the international scientific frontier and the strategic objectives of human life and health, and has achieved a series of innovative achievements with forward-looking and significant influence. With Northwestern Polytechnical University as the first or corresponding author unit, the team has conducted research in Science (2019, 364: eaav6202; 2019, 364: eaav6335; 2019, 364: eaav6312), Cell (2021, 184: 1362; 2021, 184: 1377), Nature Genetics (2021, 53: 742), Nature Ecology & Evolution (2018, 2: 1268; 2019, 3: 823; 2022, 6: 1354), Nature Communications (2020, 11: 2494; 2021, 12: 6858; 2022, 13: 5619), Science Advances (2021, 7: eabe9459), PNAS (2021, 118: e2106080118) and other journals have published many high-level papers; some research results were selected as the top ten life sciences advances in China in 2019 and 2021; Professor Qiu Qiang and Professor Wang Kun of the team were supported by the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars and the Excellent Young Scientists Fund respectively. Professor Wang Wen was supported by the first “New Cornerstone Investigator Program”. In the future, the team will further carry out research work around the analysis of complex characteristics of animals and plants and the bionic application in the field of human health medicine.
Source: NPU News
Translator: Ma Le