• Cell/Tissue Signaling - other;
  • Bone QCT/µCT;
  • Matrix mineralization;
  • Molecular pathways - remodeling;
  • Cells of bone - osteoblasts


Amputation of the digit tip within the terminal phalangeal bone of rodents, monkeys, and humans results in near-perfect regeneration of bone and surrounding tissues; however, amputations at a more proximal level fail to produce the same regenerative result. Digit regeneration is a coordinated multi-faceted process that incorporates signaling from bioactive growth factors both in the tissue matrix and from several different cell populations. To elucidate the mechanisms involved in bone regeneration we developed a novel multi-tissue slice culture model that regenerates bone ex vivo via direct ossification. Our study provides an integrated multi-tissue system for bone and digit regeneration and allows us to circumvent experimental limitations that exist in vivo. We utilized this slice culture model to evaluate the influence of oxygen on regenerating bone. Micro-computed tomography (µCT) and histological analysis revealed that the regenerative response of the digit is facilitated in part by a dynamic oxygen event, where mutually exclusive high and low oxygen micro-environments exist and vacillate in a coordinated fashion during regeneration. Areas of increased oxygen are initially seen in the marrow and then surrounding areas of vasculature in the regenerating digit. Major hypoxic events are seen at 7 days post-amputation (DPA) in the marrow and again at DPA 12 in the blastema, and manipulation of oxygen tensions during these hypoxic phases can shift the dynamics of digit regeneration. Oxygen increased to 21% oxygen tension can either accelerate or attenuate bone mineralization in a stage-specific manner in the regenerative timeline. These studies not only reveal a circumscribed frame of oxygen influence during bone regeneration, but also suggest that oxygen may be one of the primary signaling influences during regeneration. © 2014 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research