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Histological examination of antler regeneration in red deer (Cervus elaphus)



Histological examination of antler regeneration in red deer (Cervus elaphus)



Anatomical Record. Part A, Discoveries in Molecular, Cellular, and Evolutionary Biology 282(2): 163-174



Annual antler renewal presents the only case of epimorphic regeneration (de novo formation of a lost appendage distal to the level of amputation) in mammals. Epimorphic regeneration is also referred to as a blastema-based process, as blastema formation at an initial stage is the prerequisite for this type of regeneration. Therefore, antler regeneration has been claimed to take place through initial blastema formation. However, this claim has never been confirmed experimentally. The present study set out to describe systematically the progression of antler regeneration in order to make a direct histological comparison with blastema formation. The results showed that wound healing over a pedicle stump was achieved by ingrowth of full-thickness pedicle skin and resulted in formation of a scar. The growth centers for the antler main beam and brow tine were formed independently at the posterior and anterior corners of the pedicle stump, respectively. The hyperplastic perichondrium surmounting each growth center was directly formed in situ by a single type of tissue: the thickening distal pedicle periosteum, which is the derivative of initial antlerogenic periosteum. Therefore, the cells residing in the pedicle periosteum can be called antler stem cells. Antler stem cells formed each growth center by initially forming bone through intramembranous ossification, then osseocartilage through transitional ossification, and finally cartilage through endochondral ossification. There was an overlap between the establishment of antler growth centers and the completion of wound healing over the pedicle stump. Overall, our results demonstrate that antler regeneration is achieved through general wound healing- and stem cell-based process, rather than through initial blastema formation. Pedicle periosteal cells directly give rise to antlers. Histogenesis of antler regeneration may recapitulate the process of initial antler generation.

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Accession: 012152810

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 15641024

DOI: 10.1002/ar.a.20148


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