Possibility of mixed progenitor cells in sea star arm regeneration

Bodil Hernroth, Farhad Farahani, Gunnar Brunborg, Sam Dupont, Annika Dejmek, Helene Nilsson Sköld

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    43 Citations (Scopus)


    In contrast to most vertebrates, invertebrate deuterostome echinoderms, such as the sea star Asterias rubens, undergo regeneration of lost body parts. The current hypothesis suggests that differentiated cells are the main source for regenerating arm in sea stars, but there is little information regarding the origin and identity of these cells. Here, we show that several organs distant to the regenerating arm responded by proliferation, most significantly in the coelomic epithelium and larger cells of the pyloric caeca. Analyzing markers for proliferating cells and parameters indicating cell ageing, such as levels of DNA damage, pigment, and lipofuscin contents as well as telomere length and telomerase activity, we suggest that cells contributing to the new arm likely originate from progenitors rather than differentiated cells. This is the first study showing that cells of mixed origin may be recruited from more distant sources of stem/progenitor cells in a sea star, and the first described indication of a role for pyloric caeca in arm regeneration. Data on growth rate during arm regeneration further indicate that regeneration is at the expense of whole animal growth. We propose a new working hypothesis for arm regeneration in sea stars involving four phases: wound healing by coelomocytes, migration of distant progenitor cells of mixed origin including from pyloric caeca, proliferation in these organs to compensate for cell loss, and finally, local proliferation in the regenerating arm.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)457-468
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology Part B-Molecular and Developmental Evolution
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Swedish Standard Keywords

    • Natural sciences (1)


    • age pigment
    • asterias-rubens
    • cellular senescence
    • celomocytes
    • dna-damage
    • hematopoietic stem-cells
    • length
    • lipofuscin
    • proliferation
    • telomerase activity


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