Microcomputed tomography staging of bone histolysis in the regenerating mouse digit. Academic Article uri icon


  • Humans and mice have the ability to regenerate the distal digit tip, the terminal phalanx (P3) in response to amputation. What distinguishes P3 regeneration from regenerative failure is formation of the blastema, a proliferative structure that undergoes morphogenesis to regenerate the amputated tissues. P3 regeneration is characterised by the phases of inflammation, tissue histolysis and expansive bone degradation with simultaneous blastema formation, wound closure and finally blastemal differentiation to restore the amputated structures. While each regenerating digit faithfully progresses through all phases of regeneration, phase progression has traditionally been delineated by time, that is, days postamputation (DPA), yet there is widespread variability in the timing of the individual phases. To diminish variability between digits during tissue histolysis and blastema formation, we have established an in-vivo method using microcomputed tomography (micro CT) scanning to identify five distinct stages of the early regeneration response based on anatomical changes of the digit stump. We report that categorising the initial phases of digit regeneration by stage rather than time greatly diminishes the variability between digits with respect to changes in bone volume and length. Also, stages correlate with the levels of cell proliferation, osteoclast recruitment and osteoprogenitor cell recruitment. Importantly, micro CT staging provides a means to estimate open versus closed digit wounds. We demonstrate two spatially distinct and stage specific bone repair/regeneration responses that occur during P3 regeneration. Collectively, these studies showcase the utility of micro CT imaging to infer the composition of radiolucent soft tissues during P3 blastema formation. Specifically, the staging system identifies the onset of cell proliferation, osteoclastogenesis, osteoprogenitor recruitment, the spatial initiation of de novo bone formation and epidermal closure.

published proceedings

  • Wound Repair Regen

altmetric score

  • 2.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Ketcham, P. D., Imholt, F., Yan, M., Smith, H. M., Asrar, S., Yu, L., ... Dawson, L. A.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Ketcham, Paulina D||Imholt, Felisha||Yan, Mingquan||Smith, Hannah M||Asrar, Shabistan||Yu, Ling||Dolan, Connor P||Qureshi, Osama||Lin, Yu-Lieh||Xia, Ian||Hall, Patrick C||Falck, Alyssa R||Sherman, Kirby M||Gaddy, Dana||Suva, Larry J||Muneoka, Ken||Brunauer, Regina||Dawson, Lindsay A

publication date

  • January 2023