Research ArticleWound Healing

Drug-induced regeneration in adult mice

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Science Translational Medicine  03 Jun 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 290, pp. 290ra92
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3010228

Driving regeneration in mice

The MRL mouse is capable of regenerating injured tissues, making it a rare exception among mammals. The markedly increased expression of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) found both before and after injury in the MRL mouse could account for some of the cellular, molecular, and metabolic hallmarks of regeneration. To test this hypothesis, Zhang et al. used a drug in a slow-release hydrogel formulation to up-regulate HIF-1α protein expression after ear hole punch injury in adult Swiss Webster mice that do not normally show regeneration. The authors observed ear hole healing with closure and a pattern of expression of cellular markers similar to that observed in MRL mice during regeneration in response to injury. A small interfering RNA against Hif1a blocked regeneration in both untreated MRL mice and drug-treated Swiss Webster mice, showing that HIF-1α is a central driver of regeneration in mice.