Axolotl salamanders provide clues to spinal cord regeneration

I was really upset when I heard that Superman, Christopher Reeve, was injured in a riding accident resulting in a severe spinal cord injury. Complications from the injury eventually caused his untimely death. When the Reeve Foundation was formed I contacted them and spoke at length with someone in the new organization about what the axolotl could do. It was a song I continued to sing over and over again to anyone who would listen. I would like to think someone did listen. Still it’s so obvious to anyone who knows anything about the near miraculous ability of the axolotl to regenerate that understanding this would lead to many regenerative breakthroughs that I realistically can’t take any credit. It would appear a huge step has been taken in that possibility.


This is a fascinating article on why the axolotl can regenerate the spinal cord after an injury but humans cannot. These scientists have located the precise master gene involved and the exact differentiation tree pathway accessed by the axolotl. In humans, this activation does not happen because a scarring pathway is activated instead. If the genes for the regeneration pathway are still intact in humans, we now have the potential to stimulate the cells at the site of a spinal cord injury so they go down a regeneration pathway to regenerate the spinal cord instead of scarring and destruction.

If this works the potential is endless. Axolotls can regenerate their hearts, their limbs, and even their brains. Imagine those who have lost a limb now being able to grow a new one or someone in heart failure just growing a new heart. The possibilities are endless.

This discovery also happens to fit our model in Embryogenesis Explained.

Original article:

AP-1cFos/JunB/miR-200a regulate the pro-regenerative glial cell response during axolotl spinal cord regeneration

Nice summary/explanation

Axolotl salamanders provide clues to spinal cord regeneration


This entry was posted in Nerdy Tumbleweeds on by .

About tumbleweedstumbling

I have three blogs, embryogenesis explained, tumbleweed tumbling AND fulltimetumbleweed. I am a retired scientist, and my husband and I have written a book which was published by World Scientific Publishing in Nov 2016 called Embryogensis Explained. Full time tumbleweed was my first blog which I worked on during five years of living full time in a travel trailer. I have now retired that blog in favour of Tumbleweeds Tumbling since we bought a stick house in April 2015 and are no longer full-time. I have a blended family of five sons and one daughter, all grown up now. I am (step)grandmother to nine boys and one girl. My husband and I have a dog and two cats. We live in Manitoba, Canada, in a 480 square foot house on a half acre of land in the tiny town of Alonsa on territory ceded, released, surrendered and yielded up in 1871 to Her Majesty the Queen and successors forever.

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