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Dev Biol. 2005 Oct 1;286(1):361-75.

Nerve-dependent and -independent events in blastema formation during Xenopus froglet limb regeneration.

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Department of Developmental Biology and Neurosciences, Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University, Aobayama, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8578, Japan.


Blastema formation, the initial stage of epimorphic limb regeneration in amphibians, is an essential process to produce regenerates. In our study on nerve dependency of blastema formation, we used forelimb of Xenopus laevis froglets as a system and applied some histological and molecular approaches in order to determine early events during blastema formation. We also investigated the lateral wound healing in comparison to blastema formation in limb regeneration. Our study confirmed at the molecular level that there are nerve-dependent and -independent events during blastema formation after limb amputation, Tbx5 and Prx1, reliable markers of initiation of limb regeneration, that start to be expressed independently of nerve supply, although their expressions cannot be maintained without nerve supply. We also found that cell proliferation activity, cell survival and expression of Fgf8, Fgf10 and Msx1 in the blastema were affected by denervation, suggesting that these events specific for blastema outgrowth are controlled by the nerve supply. Wound healing, which is thought to be categorized into tissue regeneration, shares some nerve-independent events with epimorphic limb regeneration, although the healing process results in simple restoration of wounded tissue. Overall, our results demonstrate that dedifferentiated blastemal cells formed at the initial phase of limb regeneration must enter the nerve-dependent epimorphic phase for further processes, including blastema outgrowth, and that failure of entry results in a simple redifferentiation as tissue regeneration.

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