The degeneration of nerve cells in the brain can lead to pathologies such as Parkinson’s disease. It has been suggested that neurons in humans may regenerate. In this study, the effect of different doses of caffeine on regeneration was explored in the planeria model. Caffeine has been shown to enhance dopamine production, and dopamine is found in high concentrations in regenerating planeria tissues. Higher doses of caffeine accelerated planeria regeneration following decapitation, indicating a potential role for caffeine as a treatment to stimulate regeneration.
Omega-3 fatty acid derived lipid mediators have been implicated in resolving inflammation, and wound healing. Authors measured the impact of supplementation with lipid mediator Resolvin D1 and its precursor 17-HDHA on planaria regeneration. Planaria not only synthesize RvD1 from 17-DHA, but both RvD1 and 17-DHA enhanced regeneration.
The consumption of sugar substitute non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS) has dramatically increased in recent years. Despite being advertised as a healthy alternative, NNS have been linked to adverse effects on the body, such as neurodegenerative diseases (NDs). In NDs, neural stem cell function is impaired, which inhibits neuron regeneration. The purpose of this study was to determine if the NNS acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) and neotame affect planaria neuron regeneration rates. Since human neurons may regenerate, planaria, organisms with extensive regenerative capabilities due to stem cells called neoblasts, were used as the model organism. The heads of planaria exposed to either a control or non-toxic concentrations of NNS were amputated. The posterior regions of the planaria were observed every 24 hours to see the following regeneration stages: (1) wound healing, (2) blastema development, (3) growth, and (4) differentiation. The authors hypothesized that exposure to the NNS would slow planaria regeneration rates. The time it took for the planaria in the Ace-K group and the neotame group to reach the second, third, and fourth regeneration stage was significantly greater than that of the control. The results of this study indicated that exposure to the NNS significantly slowed regeneration rates in planaria. This suggests that the NNS may adversely impact neoblast proliferation rates in planaria, implying that it could impair neural stem cell proliferation in humans, which plays a role in NDs. This study may provide insight into the connection between NNS, human neuron regeneration, and NDs.
This unique research study evaluated the potential use of the flatworm, brown planaria (Dugesia tigrine), as an alternative model for teratogenicity testing. In this study, we exposed amputated planaria to varying concentrations of a known teratogen, vitamin A (retinol), for approximately 2 weeks, and evaluated multiple parameters including the formation of blastema and eyes. The results from this study demonstrated that high concentrations of retinol caused defects in head and eye formation in regenerating planaria, with similarities to vitamin A related teratogenicity findings in mammals. Based on these results, regenerating brown planaria are a promising alternative model for teratogenicity testing, which can potentially be paradigm shifting as it can reduce cost, time, and pregnant animal use in research.
Alcohol use disorder is a chronic, relapsing disease that affects millions of Americans every day. There are limited treatment options for alcohol dependence and alcohol withdrawal symptoms, including depression and anxiety. Previous studies have shown that probiotics can decrease depression in rodents during maternal separation and anxiety in humans. Therefore, we hypothesized that the ethanol-withdrawn planaria who consumed probiotics would have decreased withdrawal symptoms as measured by increased motility compared to the ethanol-withdrawn planaria that were not fed probiotics. The ethanol-withdrawn planaria had a statistically significant decrease in motility compared to the control group, while the planaria that consumed probiotics had no statistically significant change in motility compared to the control group.
The Wnt signaling pathway, known to coordinate important aspects of cellular homeostasis ranging from differentiation, proliferation, migration, and much more, is dysregulated in many human diseases. This study demonstrates that aminomethylphosphonic acid, which is the main metabolite found in the common herbicide Glyphosate, is toxic to planaria and capable of binding to canonical Wnt proteins.