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The ability of adult newts to regenerate their spinal cord is an incredible defense mechanism. After a complete tail amputation or a gap-induced spinal cord injury, newts can fully regenerate their spinal cord and surrounding tissue as their tails regrow. Our goal was to explore the mechanism by which ascending and descending tail axons regenerate between gap-induced spinal cord injuries in the tails of Eastern newts. By performing tail spinal cord transections to produce spinal cord injuries and applying neurobiotin, a common neurotracer that travels along the cytoskeleton of axons, we were able to use confocal microscopy to examine the regenerative capabilities of newt spinal cords over a course of six weeks. Thus far, our results have illustrated the time course of axon regeneration between the spinal cord injury site at 3 days, 1 week, and 6 weeks. We hope to continue to demonstrate the regenerative mechanism by which newts regrow their spinal cords and inevitably their tails with increasing time intervals in future experimentation.
Livezey, Jonathan, "Axon Regeneration Between Gap-Induced Spinal Cord Injuries in the Tails of Notophthalmus viridescens" (2016). Biology Summer Fellows. Paper 34.