Urodele amphibians are highly regenerative animals. After partial removal of the brain in urodeles, ependymal cells around the wound surface proliferate, differentiate into neurons and glias and finally regenerate the lost tissue. In contrast to urodeles, this type of brain regeneration is restricted only to the larval stages in anuran amphibians (frogs). In adult frogs, whereas ependymal cells proliferate in response to brain injury, they cannot migrate and close the wound surface, resulting in the failure of regeneration. Therefore frogs, in particular Xenopus, provide us with at least two modes to study brain regeneration. One is to study normal regeneration by using regenerative larvae. In this type of study, the requirement of reconnection between a regenerating brain and sensory neurons was demonstrated. Functional restoration of a regenerated telencephalon was also easily evaluated because Xenopus shows simple responses to the stimulus of a food odor. The other mode is to compare regenerative larvae and non-regenerative adults. By using this mode, it is suggested that there are regeneration-competent cells even in the non-regenerative adult brain, and that immobility of those cells might cause the failure of regeneration. Here we review studies that have led to these conclusions.
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