Limb Regeneration in Humans: Micromanaging a Plastic Environment


stem cells

How to Cite

Dunk, S. A. (2012). Limb Regeneration in Humans: Micromanaging a Plastic Environment. Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal, 8.


A popular topic as of late, stem cell research has intrigued many with its remarkable potential in the realm of human health. Multipotent stem cells have been found throughout the entire human body, indicating that adult tissues may be able to repair and regenerate themselves. Although organs such as the heart, liver, or lungs do not currently regenerate in humans, the presence of these somatic stem cells indicates that we possess the necessary structures to do so. By studying the axolotl, a species of salamander known to effectively regenerate limbs and organs, scientists have come closer to understanding human regeneration. After various studies performed on the axolotl, results have indicated that limb regeneration occurs in a step-wise fashion, in which certain qualifications must be met to progress to the next step. This is groundbreaking because the lack of human regeneration can be attributed to the absence of a correct preliminary environment, not in our sheer inability to do so. If we can determine the factors that influence each individual step of limb regeneration, we could theoretically micromanage regenerating environments to provide the exact outcome we desire.