Reawakening GDNF's regenerative past in mice and humans

Andres Samos, Vanessa McGaughey, Sandra Rieger, Thomas S. Lisse

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


The ability of an animal to regenerate lost tissue and body parts has obviously life-saving implications. Understanding how this ability became restricted or active in specific animal lineages will help us understand our own regeneration. According to phylogenic analysis, the glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) signaling pathway, but not other family members, is conserved in axolotls, a salamander with remarkable regenerative capacity. Furthermore, comparing the pro-regenerative Spiny mouse to its less regenerative descendant, the House mouse, revealed that the GDNF signaling pathway, but not other family members, was induced in regenerating Spiny mice. According to GDNF receptor expression analysis, GDNF may promote hair follicle neogenesis – an important feature of skin regeneration – by determining the fate of dermal fibroblasts as part of new hair follicles. These findings support the idea that GDNF treatment will promote skin regeneration in humans by demonstrating the GDNF signaling pathway's ancestral and cellular nature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-85
Number of pages8
JournalRegenerative Therapy
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Fibroblasts
  • GDNF
  • GFRA1
  • GFRA2
  • GFRα1
  • GFRα2
  • Hair follicles
  • NRTN
  • Regeneration
  • RET
  • Skin
  • Stem cells
  • Wound healing
  • Wound repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Developmental Biology


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