The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 61: 519 - 529 (2017)

Vol 61, Issue 8-9

Planaria: an animal model that integrates development, regeneration and pharmacology

Review | Published: 1 September 2017

Oné R. Pagán*

Department of Biology, West Chester University, West Chester, PA, USA


Although planarians are established model organisms in developmental biology and regeneration studies, in the last forty years or so, they have caught the attention of pharmacologists, especially to study the pharmacology of drugs of abuse. This review covers the following topics: some fundamentals of the history of animal models and planarians in biomedical research; an abbreviated story of systematic pharmacology research using planarians as a model organism; an example of how planarians are contributing to the search for compounds against acute cocaine toxicity; an analysis of the number of papers on planarians and pharmacological topics from 1900-2016; some perspectives on pharmacology in developmental and regeneration studies, arguing in favor of the planarian model as a leading subject for this interdisciplinary area of research, and finally some concluding thoughts.


regeneration, pharmacology, development, planaria, Dugesia, Girardia, Schmidtea, Polycelis, Phagocata

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