The Identity of Blastemal Cells

In hopes of proving a connection to possible regenerative abilities in mammals, research was conducted into the possibility that satellite cells contributed to blastema formation instead of dedifferentiated cells. In higher vertebrates, muscle regeneration often occurs by mobilizing a reserve of satellite cells (1). By testing their reaction to retinoic acid, the agent that helps determine the positional identity of the limb blastema (6), Corcoran and Ferretti were able to demonstrate the differences between the myogenic cells. Regeneration stemming from muscle damage, in the absence of amputation, results in repair by satellite cells, while amputation and the subsequent dedifferentiation results in epimorphic regeneration. The difference is in the resulting tissue. Satellite repair still shows morphological defects, while true regeneration is characterized by its perfection. It is now commonly accepted that the main regenerative cells are dedifferentiated cells. This distinction furthers the divide between regeneration in salamanders and higher vertebrates (4).


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