Regeneration of the Mouse Digit

Written by David M Gardiner

We have organized a group of highly productive research labs to study
the response of fibroblastic cells at an injury/amputation site and how
these cells undergo a dedifferentiation response that allows them to
regenerate a limb. In our lab, we study this response in salamanders that
heal wounds without scar formation and that can regenerate their limbs.
In mammals (including humans), the typical response is scar formation
and a failure to regenerate. this regeneration versus scarring response is
best exemplified in a digit amputation model where amputated digit tips
can regenerate, but amputations at a more proximal level for a scar. The
strategy of these studies is to compare the response of salamander and
mouse fibroblasts in order to identify important differences in their
response to injury. The goal of this project is to use a mammalian digit
model to establish ways to redirect fibroblasts so as to activate a
regeneration response. When successful, the induction of a regenerative
response in a mammal will represent an advance of immeasurable
proportion that will revolutionize biomedical practice.