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Dev Growth Differ. 2010 Oct;52(8):715-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-169X.2010.01208.x.

Ex vivo generation of a functional and regenerative wound epithelium from axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) skin.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697-2400, USA.


Urodele amphibians (salamanders) are unique among adult vertebrates in their ability to regenerate structurally complete and fully functional limbs. Regeneration is a stepwise process that requires interactions between keratinocytes, nerves and fibroblasts. The formation of a wound epithelium covering the amputation site is an early and necessary event in the process but the molecular mechanisms that underlie the role of the wound epithelium in regeneration remain unclear. We have developed an ex vivo model that recapitulates many features of in vivo wound healing. The model comprises a circular explant of axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) limb skin with a central circular, full thickness wound. Re-epithelialization of the wound area is rapid (typically <11 h) and is dependent on metalloproteinase activity. The ex vivo wound epithelium is viable, responds to neuronal signals and is able to participate in ectopic blastema formation and limb regeneration. This ex vivo model provides a reproducible and tractable system in which to study the cellular and molecular events that underlie wound healing and regeneration.

© 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 Japanese Society of Developmental Biologists.

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