Despite a strong clinical need for inducing scarless wound healing, the molecular factors required to accomplish it are unknown. Although skin-wound healing in adult mammals often results in scarring, some amphibians can regenerate injured body parts, even an amputated limb, without it. To understand the mechanisms of perfect skin-wound healing in regenerative tetrapods, we studied the healing process in young adult Xenopus �froglets� after experimental skin excision. We found that the excision wound healed completely in Xenopus froglets, without scarring. Mononuclear cells expressing a homeobox gene, prx1, accumulated under the new epidermis of skin wounds on the limb and trunk and at the regenerating limb. In transgenic Xenopus froglets expressing a reporter for the mouse prx1 limb-specific enhancer, activity was seen in the healing skin and in the regenerating limb. Comparable activity did not accompany skin-wound healing in adult mice. Our results suggest that scarless skin-wound healing may require activation of the prx1 limb enhancer, and competence to activate the enhancer is probably a prerequisite for epimorphic regeneration, such as limb regeneration. Finally, the induction of this prx1 enhancer activity may be useful as a reliable marker for therapeutically induced scarless wound healing in mammals.
|Number of pages||1|
|Publication status||Published - 2001|
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