The histogenesis of the regenerating fore limb of larval Amblystoma after exarticulation of the humerus


  • Thesis presented to the faculty of Princeton University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.


A new limb skeleton will form in regenerating limbs of the larval Amblystoma in which the humerus had been completely removed. The cartilage of the new limb skeleton develops out of a blastema in which there are no cells of cartilage origin. This regeneration blastema is a composite structure made up of cells derived from a dedifferentiation of the injured tissues of the limb. The tissues which have been observed as contributing to the regeneration blastema are: muscles, especially the muscles of the shoulder; connective tissue of the sheath of the brachial nerve plexus; muscle connective tissue; and, to a certain extent, subcutaneous connective tissue. The new cartilage of the limb skeleton develops out of this composite blastema by means of a differentiation of cells in the central axis of the blastema.

The amount of cartilage regenerated appears to depend on the mass of the blastema. When the blastema does not extend fully into the glenoid cavity of the scapula, the head of the developing humerus is deficient in size and structure. However, a complete limb skeleton is regenerated when the blastema does extend fully into the glenoid cavity.

Since the new cartilage of the regenerated limb has no genetic continuity with the old limb skeleton, it would appear that the limb field exerts some kind of histogenetic determining action.