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Keywords:

  • limb regeneration;
  • Xenopus;
  • inflammation;
  • annexins;
  • glucocorticoid;
  • COX-2 inhibition;
  • limb patterning;
  • cell reprogramming

Abstract

The roles of inflammation and immune cell reactivity triggered by amputation have only recently begun to be addressed in investigations of epimorphic regeneration, although studies of tissue repair in mammals clearly show the importance of the immune system in determining the quality of the repair process. Here, we first review inflammation-related work in non-mammalian systems of epimorphic regeneration which suggests that regeneration of an amputated appendage requires continuous modulation of the local immune response, from the first hours after amputation through the period of blastema patterning. We then present data on the effects of anti-inflammatory and proinflammatory agents on regeneration of larval Xenopus hindlimbs. Treatment with the glucocorticoid beclomethasone immediately after amputation inhibits regeneration in regeneration-complete stage 53 limbs. Other anti-inflammatory agents, including the inhibitors of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) activity celecoxib and diclofenac, applied similarly to larvae amputated at stage 55, when the capacity for limb regeneration is normally being lost, restore regenerative capacity. This suggests that although injury-related events sensitive to glucocorticoids are necessary for regeneration, resolution of the inflammatory response may also be required to allow the complete regenerative response and normal blastema patterning. Conversely, if resolution of inflammation is prevented by local treatment of amputated limbs with beryllium, a strong immunoadjuvant, regeneration is inhibited, and gene expression data suggest that this inhibition results from a failure of normal blastema patterning. Both positive and negative effects of immune- or inflammation-related activities occur during anuran limb regeneration and this underscores the importance of considering immune cells in studies of epimorphic regeneration. Anat Rec, 2012. ©2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.