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Japanese Scientists Regenerate Functional Joints In Xenopus laevis

Xenopus laevis can regenerate functional joints after amputation.

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Scientists at Kyoto University in Japan have successfully regenerated functional joints in the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis. The scientists note that newts can regenerate functional joints after the joint is amputated, frogs generally cannot. They amputated the frogs’ limbs right at the elbow joint and determined that Xenopus can regenerate a functional elbow joint  between the remaining tissue and the cartilaginous rod that grew where the amputation took place, known as the spike. As the tissue grew, the scientists say that the regenerating cartilage was “partially connected to the remaining articular cartilage to reform the interlocking structure of the elbow joint at the proximal end of the spike.” 

"We expect that by applying this approach to other animals, we may also achieve functional joint regeneration in mammals, including humans, in the future," said Kyoto University study author Kiyokazu Agata.


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"As a next step we would like to attempt functional joint regeneration in mice by activating the reintegration mechanism," said Agata, adding that if the operation becomes successful with mammals, then there is no reason why it shouldn’t be in humans.
An abstract of the paper can be read on the Cell & Molecular Biology website