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. 2014 Aug 21;124(8):1204-6.
doi: 10.1182/blood-2014-05-575415.

Hematopoietic Ontogeny in the Axolotl

Free PMC article

Hematopoietic Ontogeny in the Axolotl

David L Stachura et al. Blood. .
Free PMC article


In this issue of Blood, Lopez et al undertake the heroic task of characterizing the blood-forming system of the axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum), an aquatic salamander that provides an excellent model for tissue regeneration and scar-free wound healing. Commonly referred to as the “Mexican walking fish,” axolotls are not fish at all, but rather neotenic salamanders that retain many larval traits throughout their lifespan because they do not undergo a typical juvenile to adult metamorphosis. This retention of larval traits is associated with the profound ability of the axolotl to regenerate many of its tissues, including limbs, spinal cord, heart, and even parts of its brain.-

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict-of-interest disclosure: The authors declare no competing financial interests.


Hematopoietic assays developed by Lopez et al in the axolotl. (A) CFU assays indicate that CFU-E and CFU-GEMM colonies are generated from adult axolotl liver (L; green) and spleen (S; orange), but not thymus (T; dark blue), bone marrow (BM; purple), or kidney (K; light blue), when stimulated with pokeweed mitogen-stimulated axolotl spleen cell-conditioned media (PWM-SCM) and human EPO. (B) After the sites of hematopoietic progenitors in adult axolotls were identified, GFP+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells were isolated from the liver (L; green) and spleen (S; orange), and engrafted in white adult axolotls. (Left) However, rates of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) were high. (Right) Harvesting GFP+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells from 3- to 7-month-old axolotls reduced the incidence of GVHD, leading to long-term engraftment of progenitors. (C) Because irradiation can impair regeneration in axolotls, the authors developed an intracardiac injection assay. GFP+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells were isolated from adult axolotl and injected into larvae before 3 months of age. This allowed long-term reconstitution of recipients (up to 2 years later) that could be measured by antibody staining, morphological examination of hematopoietic cells, and functional assays. Importantly, the incidence of GVHD using this assay was reduced to 0%.

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