Inhibition and axial deviation of limb regeneration in the newt by means of a digit implanted into the amputated limb

This research was designed to follow up the observation of Thornton and Kraemer (’51) that regressed, denervated limbs of Ambystoma larvae will not regenerate upon reinnervation if all digits on the limbs were not completely resorbed. The object of this experiment was to determine whether the presence of an apical structure, protruding past the amputation surface, would affect the regenerative process. Both forearms of adult newts were amputated midway between the elbow and the wrist. One limb served as a normal regeneration control, and in the other limb the third digit from the removed hand was implanted in place of the removed radius, so that the three distal phalangeal segments protruded past the plane of amputation. Blastema formation in the experimental limbs was delayed by several weeks as compared with control limbs. Approximately one third of the experimental limbs did not regenerate. The regenerates that did form were strongly deviated (45-90 degrees) radially from the longitudinal axis of the limb. Experimental analysis showed that the delay in regeneration is due largely to the projecting part of the digit. The radial deviation of the regenerates is not due to the digital implant, but rather to the removal of the radius. Trauma alone does not account for this phenomenon.

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