Salamanders: The molecular basis of tissue regeneration and its relevance to human disease

Curr Top Dev Biol. 2021;145:235-275. doi: 10.1016/bs.ctdb.2020.11.009. Epub 2021 Mar 16.


Salamanders are recognized for their ability to regenerate a broad range of tissues. They have also have been used for hundreds of years for classical developmental biology studies because of their large accessible embryos. The range of tissues these animals can regenerate is fascinating, from full limbs to parts of the brain or heart, a potential that is missing in humans. Many promising research efforts are working to decipher the molecular blueprints shared across the organisms that naturally have the capacity to regenerate different tissues and organs. Salamanders are an excellent example of a vertebrate that can functionally regenerate a wide range of tissue types. In this review, we outline some of the significant insights that have been made that are aiding in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of tissue regeneration in salamanders and discuss why salamanders are a worthy model in which to study regenerative biology and how this may benefit research fields like regenerative medicine to develop therapies for humans in the future.

Keywords: Axolotl; Development; Disease; Regeneration; Salamanders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease*
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal*
  • Regeneration / physiology*
  • Urodela / metabolism*