Inflammation and immunity in organ regeneration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Scopus citations


The ability of vertebrates to regenerate amputated appendages is increasingly well-understood at the cellular level. Cells mediating an innate immune response and inflammation in the injured tissues are a prominent feature of the limb prior to formation of a regeneration blastema, with macrophage activity necessary for blastema growth and successful development of the new limb. Studies involving either anti-inflammatory or pro-inflammatory agents suggest that the local inflammation produced by injury and its timely resolution are both important for regeneration, with blastema patterning inhibited in the presence of unresolved inflammation. Various experiments with Xenopus larvae at stages where regenerative competence is declining show improved digit formation after treatment with certain immunosuppressive, anti-inflammatory, or antioxidant agents. Similar work with the larval Xenopus tail has implicated adaptive immunity with regenerative competence and suggests a requirement for regulatory T cells in regeneration, which also occurs in many systems of tissue regeneration. Recent analyses of the human nail organ indicate a capacity for local immune tolerance, suggesting roles for adaptive immunity in the capacity for mammalian appendage regeneration. New information and better understanding regarding the neuroendocrine-immune axis in the response to stressors, including amputation, suggest additional approaches useful for investigating effects of the immune system during repair and regeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-110
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental and Comparative Immunology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Amphibian
  • Appendage
  • Digit
  • Inflammation
  • Regeneration
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Developmental Biology

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