Regenerative capacity in newts is not altered by repeated regeneration and ageing
The extent to which adult newts retain regenerative capability remains one of the greatest unanswered questions in the regeneration field. Here we report a long-term lens regeneration project spanning 16 years that was undertaken to address this question. Over that time, the lens was removed 18 times from the same animals, and by the time of the last tissue collection, specimens were at least 30 years old. Regenerated lens tissues number 18 and number 17, from the last and the second to the last extraction, respectively, were analysed structurally and in terms of gene expression. Both exhibited structural properties identical to lenses from younger animals that had never experienced lens regeneration. Expression of mRNAs encoding key lens structural proteins or transcription factors was very similar to that of controls. Thus, contrary to the belief that regeneration becomes less efficient with time or repetition, repeated regeneration, even at old age, does not alter newt regenerative capacity.