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Sep 3, 2022

Axolotls can regenerate their brains, revealing secrets of brain evolution and regeneration

Posted by in categories: evolution, neuroscience

The axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) is an aquatic salamander renowned for its ability to regenerate its spinal cord, heart and limbs. These amphibians also readily make new neurons throughout their lives. In 1964, researchers observed that adult axolotls could regenerate parts of their brains, even if a large section was completely removed. But one study found that axolotl brain regeneration has a limited ability to rebuild original tissue structure.

So how perfectly can ’s regenerate their brains after injury?

As a researcher studying regeneration at the cellular level, I and my colleagues in the Treutlein Lab at ETH Zurich and the Tanaka Lab at the Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna wondered whether axolotls are able to regenerate all the different in their brain, including the connections linking one brain region to another. In our recently published study, we created an atlas of the cells that make up a part of the axolotl brain, shedding light on both the way it regenerates and brain evolution across species.

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