Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access

Publication Date


Faculty Mentor

Ellen Dawley


The axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum, is a paedomorphic amphibian that possesses the unique ability to regenerate its limbs, organs, and spinal cord and they are also able to perform post-embryonic vertebral addition in the tail. Due to their regenerative abilities, this makes them an ideal model organism to study the spinal cord and the process of regeneration. In this study, we investigate the effects of retinoic acid (a metabolite of vitamin A) on regenerating the spinal cord in Ambystoma mexicanum utilizing histology methods to visualize the tissue. It has been shown through previous research that the use of retinoic acid on limbs following amputation shows a positive correlation with the degree of serial reduplication from the distal amputation plane. The effects of retinoic acid on the spinal cord of axolotls have not been previously researched. If retinoic acid were introduced after a primary injection then we expect to see a morphological difference in a secondary amputation. The results from this study not only yielded a morphological change but the presence of a novel structure entirely. The notochord which is normally present in utero, was present in a juvenile axolotl after retinoic acid was injected.


Presented as part of the Ursinus College Celebration of Student Achievement (CoSA) held April 22, 2021.

The downloadable file is a poster presentation with audio commentary with a run time of 0:45:15.


Available to Ursinus community only.