Mucus Layer of Shark Skin Is Unique and May Have Medical Use in Wound Healing

Sharks differ from other fish in many ways, including an apparently remarkable ability to heal from wounds, according to reports of sharks recovering from injuries sustained in the wild.  While this healing ability has not yet been documented in controlled laboratory conditions, some of the chemical compounds found in shark skin may have significant biomedical potential. To investigate this possibility, two dermatology researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, together with colleagues, carried out research on a small shark, the spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) and other cartilaginous fish species at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole. Their goal is to understand the unique biochemistry of the skin of these animals. Previous research on sharks in other labs has led to the development of a new antibiotic, and the discovery of biochemical pathways relevant to cystic fibrosis research.

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