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Innate immune system and tissue regeneration in planarians: an area ripe for exploration.


The immune system has been implicated as an important modulator of tissue regeneration. However, the mechanisms driving injury-induced immune response and tissue repair remain poorly understood. For over 200 years, planarians have been a classical model for studies on tissue regeneration, but the planarian immune system and its potential role in repair is largely unknown. We found through comparative genomic analysis and data mining that planarians contain many potential homologs of the innate immune system that are activated during injury and repair of adult tissues. These findings support the notion that the relationship between adult tissue repair and the immune system is an ancient feature of basal Bilateria. Further analysis of the planarian immune system during regeneration could potentially add to our understanding of how the innate immune system and inflammatory responses interplay with regenerative signals to induce scar-less tissue repair in the context of the adult organism.

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