Non-traditional roles of immune cells in regeneration: an evolutionary perspective

Development. 2022 Apr 15;149(8):dev199903. doi: 10.1242/dev.199903. Epub 2022 May 3.


Immune cells are known to engage in pathogen defense. However, emerging research has revealed additional roles for immune cells, which are independent of their function in the immune response. Here, we underscore the ability of cells outside of the adaptive immune system to respond to recurring infections through the lens of evolution and cellular memory. With this in mind, we then discuss the bidirectional crosstalk between the immune cells and stem cells and present examples where these interactions regulate tissue repair and regeneration. We conclude by suggesting that comprehensive analyses of the immune system may enable biomedical applications in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.

Keywords: Hemocytes; Homeostasis; Innate immunity; Macrophages; Regeneration; Stem cells; Trained immunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Immune System
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Regenerative Medicine*
  • Stem Cells
  • Wound Healing