Skin wounds are among the most common injuries in animals and humans. Vertebrate skin is composed of an epidermis and dermis. After a deep skin injury in mammals, the wound heals, but the dermis cannot regenerate. Instead, collagenous scar tissue forms to fill the gap in the dermis, but the scar does not function like the dermis and often causes disfiguration. In contrast, in non-amniote vertebrates, including fish and amphibians, the dermis and skin derivatives are regenerated after a deep skin injury, without a recognizable scar remaining. Furthermore, skin regeneration can be compared with a higher level of organ regeneration represented by limb regeneration in these non-amniotes, as fish, anuran amphibians (frogs and toads), and urodele amphibians (newts and salamanders) have a high capacity for organ regeneration. Comparative studies of skin regeneration together with limb or other organ regeneration could reveal how skin regeneration is stepped up to a higher level of regeneration. The long history of regenerative biology research has revealed that fish, anurans, and urodeles have their own strengths as models for regeneration studies, and excellent model organisms of these non-amniote vertebrates that are suitable for molecular genetic studies are now available. Here, we summarize the advantages of fish, anurans, and urodeles for skin regeneration studies with special reference to three model organisms: zebrafish (Danio rerio), African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis), and Iberian ribbed newt (Pleurodele waltl). All three of these animals quickly cover skin wounds with the epidermis (wound epidermis formation) and regenerate the dermis and skin derivatives as adults. The availability of whole genome sequences, transgenesis, and genome editing with these models enables cell lineage tracing and the use of human disease models in skin regeneration phenomena, for example. Zebrafish present particular advantages in genetics research (e.g., human disease model and Cre-loxP system). Amphibians (X. laevis and P. waltl) have a skin structure (keratinized epidermis) common with humans, and skin regeneration in these animals can be stepped up to limb regeneration, a higher level of regeneration.
- Skin regeneration
- Wound healing