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Trends Cell Biol. 2007 Jun;17(6):261-70. Epub 2007 May 10.

Large-scale biophysics: ion flows and regeneration.

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Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology, Forsyth Institute and Developmental Biology Department, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA 02115, USA. <>


Regeneration requires exquisite orchestration of growth and morphogenesis. A powerful but still largely mysterious system of biophysical signals functions during regeneration, embryonic development and neoplasm. Ion transporters generate pH and voltage gradients, as well as ion fluxes, regulating proliferation, differentiation and migration. Endogenous bioelectrical signals are implicated in the control of wound healing, limb development, left-right patterning and spinal cord regeneration. Recent advances in molecular biology and imaging technology have allowed unprecedented insight into the sources and downstream consequences of ion flows. In complement to the current focus on molecular genetics and stem cell biology, artificial modulation of bioelectrical signals in somatic tissues is a powerful modality that might result in profound advances in understanding and augmentation of regenerative capacity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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