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Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today. 2008 Dec;84(4):265-80. doi: 10.1002/bdrc.20137.

Mammalian regeneration and regenerative medicine.

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  • 1Division of Developmental Biology, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA.


Mammals are generally considered to be poor regenerators, yet there are a handful of mammalian models that display a robust ability to regenerate. One such system is the regenerating tips of digits in both humans and mice. In vitro studies of regenerating fetal human and mouse digit tips display both anatomical and molecular similarities, indicating that the mouse digit is a clinically relevant model. At the same time, genetic studies on mouse digit tip regeneration have identified signaling pathways required for the regeneration response that parallel those known to be important for regeneration in lower vertebrates. In addition, recent studies establish that digit tip regeneration involves the formation of a blastema that shares similarities with the amphibian blastema, thus establishing a conceptual bridge between clinical application and basic research in regeneration. In this review we discuss how the study of endogenous regenerating mammalian systems is enhancing our understanding of regenerative mechanisms and helping to shed light on the development of therapeutic strategies in regenerative medicine.

(c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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