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Dev Biol. 1986 Mar;114(1):170-9.

Retinoic acid modifies positional memory in the anteroposterior axis of regenerating axolotl limbs.


The effects of retinoic acid (RA) on anteroposterior (AP) positional memory of regenerating axolotl limbs were tested after removing the anterior or posterior half from the zeugopodium (lower arm or leg). RA (150 micrograms/g body wt) was injected into groups of animals bearing the following types of limbs: (1) anterior and posterior half zeugopodia grafted to the eyesocket and amputated distally 7 days later; (2) unamputated anterior and posterior half zeugopodia in situ; (3) double anterior and double posterior half zeugopodia amputated distally 7 days after their construction; (4) sham-operated zeugopodia amputated distally 7 days after operation. Controls consisted of these four groups injected with the retinoid solvent, dimethyl sulfoxide, or not injected. Control half zeugopodia grafted to the eyesocket regenerated no more than one or two digits. Control unamputated half zeugopodia in situ underwent partial or complete regeneration of the missing half from the proximal and midline wound surfaces exposed during construction of the half zeugopodia. Control double anterior and posterior zeugopodia both regenerated symmetrical, hypomorphic regenerates with 1-3 digits in the double anteriors and 1-6 digits in the double posteriors. Sham-operated controls regenerated normally. Regenerating anterior and posterior halves responded differently to RA. RA-treated anterior half zeugopodia in the eyesocket, and anterior half stumps adjacent to the unamputated posterior half zeugopodia in situ both produced regenerates that duplicated stump structures in the proximodistal axis and formed a complete and normal AP pattern. RA-treated double anterior zeugopodia regenerated proximodistal-duplicated pairs of mirror-imaged limbs, each with a complete and normal AP pattern. In contrast, half posterior zeugopodia in the eyesocket, the posterior half stumps of unamputated half anterior zeugopodia in situ, and double posterior zeugopodia all failed to regenerate. These results suggest that RA modifies positional memory in only one direction in the AP axis, posterior.

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