May 14, 2020
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How to treat joints? Look for the answer on a small ramp

Diseases of the joints (arthritis) develop slowly, but inevitably - treatment, no matter what the manufacturers of magic drugs and dietary supplements say, gives only a delay. The affected joint sooner or later loses mobility. The essence of the problem is in the properties of human cartilage tissue (and more broadly - of all mammals). It does not recover in the adult body. However, it is possible that in the future we will be able to circumvent natural limitations - this will be helped by knowledge about the biology of creatures for which scarless cartilage regeneration is a common thing. We are talking about cartilaginous fish, more precisely - a small hedgehog ( Leucoraja erinacea ), selected by scientists of the Marine Biological Laboratory Whitman Center Scientist from the University of Cambridge) as a model organism.

Just note: the work carried out can in no way serve as evidence of the effectiveness of the funds based on shark fins. No magic.

“Rays and people use many of the same genes to form cartilage. We can hope that since adult stingrays are able to grow cartilage, we can, too, ”said Andrew Gillis, senior author of the study, optimistic.


A study of hedgehogs showed that these fish have specialized progenitor cells for creating new cartilage tissue in adulthood. Having discovered these cells, scientists then traced the entire growth path of the new cartilage.

Why is this important and interesting? Probably, new data will improve the method of treatment of joints with stem cells. The main drawback of such therapy today is associated with the biology of all mammals: the cells of the cartilage tissue in our body continue to differentiate - and the cartilage becomes bone. In stingrays, cartilage is often the end result. The work of Gillis and his colleagues is aimed at finding a genetic stop signal that will stop the development of the cell at the right stage.

The research materials are published in eLife .

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