Mexican axolotls lose potential for lens regeneration 2 weeks after hatching. We used microarrays to identify differently expressed genes before and after this critical time, using RNA isolated from iris. Over 3700 genes were identified as differentially expressed in response to lentectomy between young (7 days post-hatching) and old (3 months post-hatching) axolotl larvae. Strikingly, many of the genes were only expressed in the early or late iris. Genes that were highly expressed in young iris significantly enriched electron transport chain, transcription, metabolism, and cell cycle gene ontologies, all of which are associated with lens regeneration. In contrast, genes associated with cellular differentiation and tissue maturation were uniquely expressed in old iris. Many of these expression differences strongly suggest that young and old iris samples were collected before and after the spleen became developmentally competent to produce and secrete cells with humoral and innate immunity functions. Our study establishes the axolotl as a powerful model to investigate age-related cellular differentiation and immune system ontogeny within the context of tissue regeneration.