Have you ever seen an Axolotl? These quirky creatures are a type of salamander that look like they’re straight out of a fantasy world. With their cute faces, fluffy gills, and spindly limbs, axolotls are a fascinating and beloved species of aquatic animal.

But there’s more about these fascinating creatures than just their unique appearance! Axolotls have some pretty amazing traits that make them a favorite among researchers and animal lovers.

From their biology and behavior to their cultural significance, there’s a lot to discover about these curious creatures.


Can Axolotls Get Cancer?

Yes, Axolotls can get tumors; but they have a much lower incidence of cancer than other salamander species.

Tumors are relatively uncommon in axolotls compared to other salamander species. The incidence of tumors in axolotls can be affected by several factors:

  • Environmental conditions
  • Exposure to carcinogens
  • Genetics

Axolotls that were exposed to the carcinogen “Benzopyrene” had a significantly higher incidence of tumors than unexposed axolotls.

The most common type of tumor in axolotls is the “Dermal Melanoma”, which affects the skin cells. The Dermal Melanoma can range in size from small, benign growths to larger, malignant tumors.

In addition to dermal melanomas, some other tumors have been reported in axolotls, like: liver tumors and tumors of the reproductive system.

Axolotls Can Heal from Cancer

Despite the presence of tumors, axolotls have a remarkable ability to heal and regenerate from cancer growths.

In many cases, axolotls can cure from tumors without significant long-term consequences! The exact mechanisms underlying this healing process are not well understood up to day.

Additionally, the unique variation of the p53 gene found in axolotls may contribute to their high resistance to cancer development.

Read also: Discover the Beauty and Science Behind Firefly Axolotls


Why Do Axolotls Rarely Get Cancer?

Axolotls have a remarkable ability to regenerate their tissues and their organs – which is very unique among vertebrates. This regenerative ability is thought to be related to their ability to avoid developing cancer. Here are several potential reasons why axolotls may not get tumors:

  • Efficient DNA repair: Axolotls have a highly efficient DNA repair mechanism that enables them to quickly repair any damage to their DNA. This rapid DNA repair reduces the risk of mutations that can lead to cancer.
  • Large genome size: Axolotls have a much larger genome than other animals of a similar size (and even humans), which may allow Axolotls to have more genes involved in cancer prevention and DNA repair.
  • Ability to control cell growth: Axolotls have a unique ability to control the growth and division of their cells! This may help Axolotls to prevent uncontrolled cell growth – that can lead to cancer.
  • Low metabolic rate: Axolotls have a relatively low metabolic rate, which may result in less cellular damage and less DNA replication, both of which can contribute to cancer development.

The p53 gene is a “Tumor Supressor Gene” that helps regulate cell growth and can so prevent the development of cancer. If the p53 gene doesn’t work properly – due to mutations – it can lead to cancer.

Axolotls have a special variation of the p53 gene that makes them highly resistant to cancer.

Scientists nowadays studying this variation of the p53 gene, to learn more about how it works and how it could be used to develop new treatments for cancer.

Summary

Axolotls have been observed to have a higher resistance to cancer than many other animals, which has made them a valuable model organism for studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying cancer resistance.

The unique variation of the p53 gene found in axolotls is thought to contribute to their high resistance to cancer development. However, the extent of this resistance is not fully understood and may depend on various factors.

Read also: The Axolotl Metamorphosis: A Fascinating Transformation


Can Axolotls Hold the Key to Successful Anti-Cancer Treatments?

There is significant potential for scientific research on axolotls and the “p53 gene” to lead to successful anti-cancer treatments. As mentioned above, the “p53 gene” plays a critical role in regulating cell growth and preventing the development of cancer.

Axolotl-Scientific

The axolotl, has high resistance to cancer and variations of the p53 gene – that may be responsible for this resistance, could provide valuable insights into the mechanisms underlying cancer resistance.

Researchers are studying the axolotl’s unique variation of the p53 gene to better understand the molecular pathways involved in the loss of tumour suppressor gene activity and to develop more effective cancer treatments. If successful, this research could lead to genetic treatment studies in cancer-cancer resistance.

The use of gene therapy to target the p53 gene is an exciting and promising area of research, and the axolotl’s unique variation of this gene could provide valuable insights into the mechanisms underlying cancer resistance


Axolotl Oocyte Extract used to Reactivate Tumour Suppressor Genes and Stop Cancer Growth

In the field of cancer research – a verycommon cause of cancer is the switching off of tumour suppressor genes, which can be caused by epigenetic marks.

Researchers have found that using Axolotl oocyte extract to treat cancer cells can reactivate tumour suppressor genes and stop cancerous cell growth.

Axolotl oocytes are packed with molecules that have powerful epigenetic modifying activity and are very similar to those in humans. Identifying the proteins responsible for this tumour reversing activity in axolotl oocytes could lead to a new technology platform for treating breast cancer and other types of cancer.

Axolotls and Cancer Research

Axolotls are Not Immune to Cancer, but Possess Unique Abilities to Heal and Regenerate from Tumors.

While axolotl oocyte extracts have been shown to reactivate tumor suppressor genes and stop cancerous cell growth in breast cancer research, it’s important to note that this is just one aspect of axolotl research in cancer.


The Axolotl as a Model for Studying Tissue Regeneration

The axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) is a remarkable model organism for studying tissue regeneration. Axolotls are able to regenerate a wide range of tissues, including limbs, spinal cord, and heart tissue, with remarkable efficiency and accuracy.

Mexican Axolotl
Mexican Axolotl

Unlike other animals, axolotls do not form a scar during the regeneration process, and the regenerated tissue is often indistinguishable from the original tissue.

In recent years, significant progress has been made in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying axolotl regeneration.

The axolotl’s unique ability to regenerate provides valuable insights into the processes of cell differentiation, tissue patterning, and wound healing, and has significant potential for the development of new therapies for human disease.

The Unique Regenerative Abilities of Axolotls

Tissue regeneration in Axolotls: Tissue regeneration is a complex and highly-regulated process, it is critical for maintaining tissue homeostasis and repairing damaged or diseased tissues.

Despite its importance, our understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying tissue regeneration remains limited. The axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) is a unique model organism for studying tissue regeneration, due to its remarkable ability to regenerate a wide range of tissues with remarkable efficiency and accuracy.

In recent years, significant progress has been made in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying axolotl regeneration, providing valuable insights into the processes of cell differentiation, tissue patterning, and wound healing.

Regeneration of Limbs:

Perhaps the most well-known example of axolotl regeneration is the regeneration of limbs. Axolotls are able to regenerate their limbs following amputation with remarkable efficiency and accuracy.

The regeneration process involves the formation of a blastema, a group of undifferentiated cells that will give rise to the new limb tissue. The blastema is derived from dedifferentiated cells that have reverted to a more primitive state, and is highly organized and patterned.

The regeneration of axolotl limbs provides a unique opportunity to study the processes of tissue patterning and cell differentiation.

Regeneration of Spinal Cord:

Another area of axolotl regeneration that has received significant attention is the regeneration of spinal cord tissue.

Axolotls are able to regenerate spinal cord tissue following injury, and this regeneration process is characterized by the formation of a glial scar and the subsequent migration of neural progenitor cells to the injury site.

The regenerative process results in the formation of new neurons and the restoration of functional connections.

Regeneration of Heart Tissue:

Axolotls are also able to regenerate heart tissue following injury, making them an important model organism for studying cardiac regeneration.

The regeneration process involves the formation of a clot at the injury site, which is then replaced by a blastema derived from dedifferentiated cardiomyocytes. T

he regenerated tissue is highly organized and functional, and can restore cardiac function following injury.


The Axolotl Genome: Insights into Regeneration and Evolution

The genome of the axolotl has been sequenced and assembled – it provides avaluable insights into the genes and pathways involved in tissue regeneration.

The axolotl genome is very large and complex, with an estimated size of 32 billion base pairs (human genome is estimated to have around 3 billion base pairs). This high number of gene pairs makes the axolotl genome one of the largest genomes ever sequenced.

The sequencing of the axolotl genome has opened up new avenues for research on the mechanisms underlying axolotl regeneration and the evolutionary history of this unique organism.


The Axolotl Genome: Insights into Regeneration and Evolution

Axolotls are fascinating creatures that have much to offer beyond their unique appearance. While they can develop tumors, they have a remarkable ability to heal and regenerate from cancer growths, which scientists are studying for potential anti-cancer treatments.

Axolotls ability to regenerate a wide range of tissues provides valuable insights into the processes of cell differentiation, tissue patterning, and wound healing.

The sequencing of the axolotl genome has also opened up new avenues for research on the mechanisms underlying the axolotl regeneration processes and the evolutionary history of this unique organism.

Sources:

  1. Johnson, S. L., & Weston, J. A. (1995). Temperature-sensitive mutations that cause stage-specific defects in the development of neural crest derivatives in the Mexican axolotl. Developmental Biology, 167(2), 447-468. https://doi.org/10.1006/dbio.1995.1048
  2. McCusker, C. D., & Gardiner, D. M. (2011). The axolotl model for regeneration and aging research: a mini-review. Gerontology, 57(6), 565-571. https://doi.org/10.1159/000327717
  3. Yun, M. H., Gates, P. B., Brockes, J. P., & Sánchez Alvarado, A. (2013). Regeneration in axolotls: a model to aim for!. Experimental Gerontology, 48(8), 731-734. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2013.04.003
  4. McCusker, C. D., & Martin, B. L. (2017). The role of DNA damage in the mechanisms of regeneration in an adult model organism. Frontiers in Genetics, 8, 83. https://doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2017.00083
  5. Tanaka, E. M., & Reddien, P. W. (2011). The cellular basis for animal regeneration. Developmental Cell, 21(1), 172-185. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2011.06.016
  6. Sanchez Alvarado, A., & Tsonis, P. A. (2006). Bridging the regeneration gap: genetic insights from diverse animal models. Nature Reviews Genetics, 7(11), 873-884. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrg1923
  7. Vethamany-Globus, S., & Globus, M. (1997). Tumors of the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum). ILAR Journal, 38(2), 71-75. https://doi.org/10.1093/ilar.38.2.71



Dr-Orika-Mosquera-Lopez

Dr. Orika Mosquera

Hello, I am Dr. Orika Mosquera Lopez graduated from the free university of colombia sectional Barranquilla as a doctor and surgeon. I work as a General Practitioner with Experience in the Emergency Department, Hospitalization and External Consultation. I love pets, i have 2 cats, Bagheera and Nhala and one Yorkshire Terrier called Princess. I care a lot about the well-being of my animals

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