Ex vivo generation of a functional and regenerative wound epithelium from axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) skin

Donald R. Ferris, Akira Satoh, Berhan Mandefro, Gillian M. Cummings, David M. Gardiner, Elizabeth L. Rugg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Urodele amphibians (salamanders) are unique among adult vertebrates in their ability to regenerate structurally complete and fully functional limbs. Regeneration is a stepwise process that requires interactions between keratinocytes, nerves and fibroblasts. The formation of a wound epithelium covering the amputation site is an early and necessary event in the process but the molecular mechanisms that underlie the role of the wound epithelium in regeneration remain unclear. We have developed an ex vivo model that recapitulates many features of in vivo wound healing. The model comprises a circular explant of axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) limb skin with a central circular, full thickness wound. Re-epithelialization of the wound area is rapid (typically <11 h) and is dependent on metalloproteinase activity. The ex vivo wound epithelium is viable, responds to neuronal signals and is able to participate in ectopic blastema formation and limb regeneration. This ex vivo model provides a reproducible and tractable system in which to study the cellular and molecular events that underlie wound healing and regeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-724
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopment Growth and Differentiation
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • axolotl
  • blastema
  • limb regeneration
  • matrix metalloproteinase
  • wound epithelium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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