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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 2003 Jan 10;140(1):67-73.

Retinoic acid involvement in the reciprocal neurotrophic interactions between newt spinal cord and limb blastemas in vitro.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Avenue, St. Catharines, Ontario L2S 3A1, Canada.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the reciprocal neurotrophic interaction between regenerating limb blastemas and spinal cord explants from the newt Notophthalmus viridescens. Axon outgrowth was measured from spinal cord explants in vitro to assess the neurotrophic activity of early to mid-bud stage blastemas after various treatments. When retinoic acid, a vitamin A metabolite, was added to the medium, it increased both the number and length of axons extending from spinal cord explants. Spinal cord explants co-cultured with blastemas that were previously treated with citral, an inhibitor of retinoic acid synthesis, extended significantly fewer axons than control co-cultures. Blastemas, which were denervated by surgical resection of the brachial plexus 48 h before co-culture, also exhibited a significantly weaker neurotrophic activity than did control innervated blastemas. These results are consistent with a reciprocal interaction between blastema mesenchyme and nerves and suggest either a stimulatory or synergistic role for endogenous retinoic acid in the blastema-derived trophic activity.

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