[Frontiers in Bioscience E5, 479-489, January 1, 2013]

Histogenetic aspects of deer antler development

Chunyi Li1,2

1AgResearch Invermay Agricultural Centre, Private Bag 50034, Mosgiel, New Zealand,2State Kay Laboratory for Molecular Biology of Special Economic Animals, Changchun, China


1. Abstract
2. Introduction
3. Generation of pedicles and first antlers
3.1. Internal component
3.1.1. Formation
3.1.2. Remodeling
3.2. Exploration of the mechanism underlying the change in ossification type
3.3. External component
3.4. Exploration of the mechanism underlying pedicle skin formation and transformation to antler velvet
3.5. Elongation, calcification, velvet skin shedding and antler casting
4. Regeneration of second and subsequent antlers
4.1. Precasting
4.2. Casting
4.3. Early wound healing
4.4. Late wound healing and early antler regeneration
4.4.1. Initiation of the anterior and posterior growth centers
4.4.2. Formation of the continuous cartilaginous columns in the growth centers
4.4.3. Commencement of remodeling in the region of the earliest formed cartilage
4.5. Formation of main beam and brow tine
4.6. Elongation and ramification
4.7. Ossification and hard antler
5. Acknowledgements
6. References


Deer antlers are the only mammalian organs that, once lost, can fully grow back; therefore, they offer a unique opportunity for investigating the mechanism underlying mammalian organ regeneration. This review summarizes the current knowledge of antler histogenesis. The axis of a pedicle (antecedent of antler) and a first antler consists of an internal component and an external component. Formation of the internal component commences from the proliferation of antlerogenic periosteal cells and undergoes 4 ossification stages: Formation of the external component goes through 3 distinguishable stages. Antler velvet transformation is mainly associated with alteration in the skin appendages. Subsequent antler regeneration is divided into 5 stages. The present account, together with the companion paper on antler morphogenesis in this special issue (E4, 1836-1842), provides a foundation for further mechanistic study of this fascinating model for mammalian organ regeneration.