Amputated ‘finger’ tips grow back

Both toenails and toe tips grew back in mice, thanks to special ‘stem’ cells living beneath the nails

By Stephen Ornes, 14:51 PM June 27, 2013

This photo shows the tip of a mouse toe, good as new five weeks after amputation.  Researchers have pinpointed that stem cells at the base of the nail are responsible for the regrowth. Credit: Ito Lab

Cut your fingernails and they will grow back. For some people — especially children — that’s also true of fingertips: Cut them off and they may well come back. Scientists have now investigated why, thankfully using mice. Both nails and toe tips regrow thanks to special cells found under the base of each nail, they find.

The same may also hold true for people, says Mayumi Ito, who led the new study. She researches these special cells at New York University Langone Medical Center. Her team’...

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