IMR Press / FBL / Volume 22 / Issue 10 / DOI: 10.2741/4561

Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.


Custom-built tools for the study of deer antler biology

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1 Institute of Special Wild Economic Animals and Plants, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, State Key Lab for Molecular Science of Special AnimalsChangchun, Beijing, China
2 National Resource Center for Chinese Materia Medica, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing, China

Academic Editor: Chunyi Li

Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2017, 22(10), 1622–1633;
Published: 1 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deer antler: a unique model for full mammalian organ regeneration)

Deer antlers can be developed into multiple novel models to study growth and development of tissues for biomedical research. To facilitate this process, we have invented and further refined five custom-built tools through three decades of antler research. These are: 1. Pedicle growth detector to pinpoint the timing when pedicle growth is initiated, thus stimuli for pedicle and first antler formation can be investigated and identified. 2. Thin periosteum slice cutter to thinly slice (0.2mm or 0.7 mm thick) a whole piece of antlerogenic periosteum (AP) or pedicle periosteum (PP), which facilitates gene delivery into cells resident in these tissues, thus making transgenic antlers possible. 3. The porous periosteum multi-needle punch to effectively loosen the dense AP or PP tissue. This allows most cells of the periosteum to come into direct contact with treating solutions, thus making artificial manipulation of antler development possible. 4. The intra-dermal pocket maker to cut the thin dermal tissue (less than 2 mm in thickness) of a male deer calf horizontally into two layers to make an intra-dermal pocket. This allows loading of AP tissue intra-dermally to test the theory of “antler stem cell niche” in vivo. 5. The sterile periosteum sampling system to allow aseptic collection of the AP, PP or the antler growth centre tissue on farm, thus allowing antler generation, regeneration or rapid growth to be investigated in vitro. Overall, we believe the application of contemporary cellular and molecular biological techniques coupled with these custom-built tools would greatly promote the establishment of this unique and novel model for the benefits of biomedical research, and hence human health.

Custom-built tools
Tissue sampling
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