We show for the first time endoskeletal regeneration in the developing pectoral fin of zebrafish. The developing pectoral fin contains an aggregation plate of differentiated chondrocytes (endochondral disc; primordium for endoskeletal components, proximal radials). The endochondral disc can be regenerated after amputation in the middle of the disc. The regenerated disc sufficiently forms endoskeletal patterns. Early in the process of regenerating the endochondral disc, epithelium with apical ectodermal ridge (AER) marker expression rapidly covers the amputation plane, and mesenchymal cells start to actively proliferate. Taken together with re-expression of a blastema marker gene, msxb, and other developmental genes, it is likely that regeneration of the endochondral disc recaptures fin development as epimorphic limb regeneration does. The ability of endoskeletal regeneration declines during larval growth, and adult zebrafish eventually lose the ability to regenerate endoskeletal components such that amputated endoskeletons become enlarged. Endoskeletal regeneration in the zebrafish pectoral fin will serve as a new model system for successful appendage regeneration in mammals.
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