Animals have evolved two general strategies to counter injury and maintain physiological function. The most prevalent is protection by isolating vital organs into body cavities. However, protection is not optimal for sensory systems because their external components need to be exposed to the environment to fulfill their receptive function. Thus, a common strategy to maintain sensory abilities against persistent environmental insult involves repair and regeneration. However, whether age or frequent injuries affect the regenerative capacity of sensory organs remains unknown. We have found that neuromasts of the zebrafish lateral line regenerate mechanosensory hair cells after recurrent severe injuries and in adulthood. Moreover, neuromasts can reverse transient imbalances of Notch signaling that result in defective organ proportions during repair. Our results reveal inextinguishable hair-cell regeneration in the lateral line, and suggest that the neuromast epithelium is formed by plastic territories that are maintained by continuous intercellular communication.
Pinto-Teixeira, F., Viader-Llargues, O., Torres-Mejia, E., Turan, M., Gonzalez-Gualda, E., Pola-Morell, L., & Lopez-Schier, H. (2015). Inexhaustible hair-cell regeneration in young and aged zebrafish. Biology Open, 4(7), 903–909. https://doi.org/10.1242/bio.012112