The Cellular and Molecular Bases of Vertebrate Lens Regeneration

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Lens regeneration takes place in some vertebrates through processes of cellular dedifferentiation and transdifferentiation, processes by which certain differentiated cell types can give rise to others. This review describes the principal forms of lens regeneration that occur in vivo as well as related in vitro systems of transdifferentiation. Classic experimental studies are reviewed that define the tissue interactions that trigger these events in vivo. Recent molecular analyses have begun to identify the genes associated with these processes. These latter studies generally reveal tremendous similarities between embryonic lens development and lens regeneration. Different models are proposed to describe basic molecular pathways that define the processes of lens regeneration and transdifferentiation. Finally, studies are discussed suggesting that fibroblast growth factors play key roles in supporting the process of lens regeneration. Retinoids, such as retinoic acid, may also play important roles in this process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-265
Number of pages71
JournalInternational Review of Cytology
StatePublished - 2003


  • Cornea
  • Iris
  • Lens
  • Lens development
  • Pigmented epithelium
  • Regeneration
  • Retina
  • Transdifferentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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