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Exp Dermatol. 2017 Jun;26(6):478-482. doi: 10.1111/exd.13246. Epub 2017 Feb 19.

Are fingernails a key to unlocking the puzzle of mammalian limb regeneration?

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Some mammalian digit tips, including those of mice and human children, can regenerate following amputation, whereas mammalian limb regeneration does not occur. One major difference between the digit tip and the rest of the limb is the presence of the nail, which is necessary for this type of regeneration. This couples well with the finding that canonical Wnt signalling and Lgr6, an agonist of Wnt signalling that marks nail stem cells, are necessary for digit tip regeneration. This viewpoint essay discusses the role of the nail in digit tip regeneration and explores whether nail stem cells and their presumptive niche can be solely accountable for why regeneration is possible in the digit tip, but not the rest of the limb.


digit tip regeneration; epimorphic regeneration; fingernail; nail stem cell

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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