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Neural Regeneration Research





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A key challenge in designing tissue repair strategies is knowing whether and how developmental mechanisms are used for successful repair of mature/adult tissues. Although it is known that developmental components are used in repair, it remains mostly unclear which ones are required and whether they act similarly as during development. This issue is further complicated by the fact that it is difficult to assess the similarities and differences between development and the repair of mature tissues, since the two contexts are highly dissimilar. A potentially useful yet underutilized approach is to understand developmental regrowth (defined here as the ability to compensate for missing tissues by restoring normal organ structures and function). An ideal model would have two key features: repair capacity in the organ of interest during development, and well-understood developmental mechanisms. This approach reduces the complexity of comparing mature repair processes to developmental ones. The African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, has a high capacity to restore lost body structures, including the eye (Beck et al., 2009). It can regenerate the retina and lens after injury (reviewed in Barbosa-Sabanero et al. (2012) and Tseng (2017)), and Xenopus eye development is well characterized with known mechanisms (Viczian and Zuber, 2015). We recently established an embryonic model of eye regrowth using Xenopus laevis. Our study showed that the developmental stage (st.) 27 tailbud embryo regrows its eye after tissue ablation (Kha et al., 2018). Regrowth is completed by 5 days and does not interrupt overall development. The regrown and age-appropriate eye contains the normal complement of eye structures and retinal cell types, connects to the brain via the optic nerve, and demonstrates visual preference. As this is a new model, here we further define this system by assessing the functionality of the regrown eye and determining whether the ability to regrow the eye shows age dependency.


Musculoskeletal, Neural, and Ocular Physiology | Neuroscience and Neurobiology

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