When a Xenopus frog is deeply wounded, its skin can regenerate without scarring. Researchers have found that cells under the skin contribute to this regeneration after an excision injury.
Characterizing the subcutaneous cells that contribute to skin regeneration in amphibians may lead to insights on how to coax human cells to replace damaged skin without scarring. This could have important implications for improving quality of life after serious skin wounds from traumatic injuries, burns, surgeries, and diseases.
"It was an unexpected result that cells outside of skin contribute to skin regeneration. These cells may be the key to understanding why amphibians can regenerate skin after deep injury without scar formation," said Dr. Hitoshi Yokoyama, senior author of the Developmental Dynamics study. "This finding raises important questions such as: are there similar cells in human beings and how are these cells different from scar-forming cells?"