Musculoskeletal regeneration: A zebrafish perspective

Arun-Kumar Kaliya-Perumal, Philip W Ingham

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (SciVal)


Musculoskeletal injuries are common in humans. The cascade of cellular and molecular events following such injuries results either in healing with functional recovery or scar formation. While fibrotic scar tissue serves to bridge between injured planes, it undermines functional integrity. Hence, faithful regeneration is the most desired outcome; however, the potential to regenerate is limited in humans. In contrast, various non-mammalian vertebrates have fascinating capabilities of regenerating even an entire appendage following amputation. Among them, zebrafish is an important and accessible laboratory model organism, sharing striking similarities with mammalian embryonic musculoskeletal development. Moreover, clinically relevant muscle and skeletal injury zebrafish models recapitulate mammalian regeneration. Upon muscle injury, quiescent stem cells - known as satellite cells - become activated, proliferate, differentiate and fuse to form new myofibres, while bone fracture results in a phased response involving hematoma formation, inflammation, fibrocartilaginous callus formation, bony callus formation and remodelling. These models are well suited to testing gene- or pharmaco-therapy for the benefit of conditions like muscle tears and fractures. Insights from further studies on whole body part regeneration, a hallmark of the zebrafish model, have the potential to complement regenerative strategies to achieve faster and desired healing following injuries without any scar formation and, in the longer run, drive progress towards the realisation of large-scale regeneration in mammals. Here, we provide an overview of the basic mechanisms of musculoskeletal regeneration, highlight the key features of zebrafish as a regenerative model and outline the relevant studies that have contributed to the advancement of this field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-181
Number of pages11
Early online date27 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. and Société Française de Biochimie et Biologie Moléculaire (SFBBM). All rights reserved.


  • Animals
  • Cicatrix
  • Mammals
  • Stem Cells
  • Wound Healing
  • Zebrafish/physiology


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