We have seen many animals have regenerating or repairing capabilities. For instance, lizards can regenerate their tails and salamanders can regrow their entire leg within 5 weeks. Regeneration refers to the regrowth of a missing part or damaged organ from the tissue that remains. Most parts of the human body don’t regenerate, for instance we can’t grow pack our limbs if they have been cut off, however, this article discusses the parts that do grow back.
Which body parts regenerate?
Liver: The human liver is known for its regenerating capabilities. It can regenerate with just 1/4th of the remaining tissue. However, it may not be able to repair itself to its original size or shape.
Endometrium: During the menstrual cycle the uterus lining – endometrium breaks down. After menstruation occurs this lining swiftly regenerates.
Fingers: Regrowth of the bone, nail and skin can occur after amputation of a finger. This was observed at the Montreal General Hospital in 1932. Other studies have shown children up to the age of 10 being able to regenerate their fingertips.
Toes: Regeneration of toes with burns or gangrene is not an uncommon phenomenon. The regrowth was seen in the nails and even the toe print after medical treatment. Dr. Peter DeMarco was responsible for discovering this in 1986.
Kidney: Recent studies show the regeneration of the glomerulus portion of the kidney. If the injury is acute, self-repair occurs. This happens due to the presence of kidney stem cells.
How do body parts regenerate?
A lot of research is happening in this field with a lot of interest in regenerative medicine. The primary cells responsible for self-repair are known as stem cells. These are undifferentiated cells that have the ability to develop into any cell in the body, for instance nerve cells, muscle cells or skin cells. Current research is focusing on reversing differentiated cells into an undifferentiated pluripotent or tissue-specific stem cells.