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Professor Emerita of Cell and Developmental Biology
Cellular and molecular mechanisms that control amphibian limb regeneration
We conducted studies to provide insight into why most adult vertebrates, including humans, lose the ability to regenerate their limbs. The same principles that apply to developing systems often hold true for regenerating systems. Our laboratory had a longstanding interest in how vertebrate limb pattern is established during development and regeneration. For instance, the developmental potential of salamander limb buds (newly developing limbs) and regeneration blastemas (regenerating limbs) is changed predictably by application of retinoic acid (Ludolph et al., 1993). Successful vertebrate limb regeneration is accomplished by formation, continued growth, patterning, and differentiation of a regeneration blastema at the cut surface of a limb stump. Mature tissues adjacent to the amputation surface lose their extracellular matrix and cells reenter the cell cycle in preparation for stump repair and regeneration of the lost parts. At the cellular level a regeneration blastema resembles the original embryonic limb bud that gives rise to the mature limb.