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Advancements to the Axolotl Model for Regeneration and Aging

Vieira W.A.; Wells K.M.; McCusker C.D.

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- We will explore how axolotls are used as a model system to study regenerative processes, the exciting new technological advancements available for this model, and how we can apply the lessons we learn from studying regeneration in the axolotl to understand, and potentially treat, age-related decline in humans.
- Nerve Function Changes with Age Diminished sensory and motor function is a hallmark of the aging process in humans and, as previously mentioned, nerve signaling is required for axolotl limb regeneration and wound healing.
- Old muscle exhibited improved regenerative abilities when implanted into a young murine host, while the young graft was impaired in the old recipient mice. These findings indicate that systemic factors have a stronger effect, relative to tissue autonomous factors, in regulating muscle regenerative capacity.
- As fibroblasts play a key role in scar formation, which impedes regeneration, evaluating the specific functions of this cell population during regeneration may provide insights and explanations as to the changes in regenerative capacity with age, and the divergent outcomes documented in wound healing between regenerative and nonregenerative species.
- Regulatory elements thereof, that appear to contribute to regenerative failure in aging systems can be manipulated using the above-mentioned techniques in the axolotl, and this will allow for direct determination of their role in this process.
- Recent technological advancements and the acquisition of extensive genomic information in the Mexican axolotl make it an exciting time to study the process of regeneration in this model system.
- One important point that we hope to illustrate here is that axolotls demonstrate age-related phenotypic changes, some of which are similar to those observed in humans, they are unique in that they retain their ability to regenerate multiple types of complex structures throughout their lives.
- Despite the regenerative ability of the axolotl slowing with age, it still far exceeds such capacities in mammals.
- There is much to learn about how regeneration occurs in the axolotl, it is clear that multiple aspects of this important biological process will one day aid in the development of therapies for age-related pathologies in humans.

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