Lens and retina regeneration in amphibian models

by Vergara, Maria Natalia

Abstract (Summary)
The ability of certain amphibians to regenerate their body parts throughout life has been a focus of scientific research for centuries, but the molecular mechanisms that drive this remarkable process are only starting to be elucidated. Salamanders are able to regenerate a complete, functional eye after removal of the lens or retina. This occurs through a process that includes the loss of cell identities, re-entry to the cell cycle, acquisition of different cell fates, and the correct re-organization and pattern formation to reconstitute a functional organ. In order to be successful, these processes need to be finely regulated by the appropriate interplay of molecular signals. The overall goal of our research is to unravel the mechanisms behind this phenomenon. What are the signals that modulate the process of regeneration? Why do certain animals have broader regenerative capacities than others? This dissertation utilizes a variety of microsurgical procedures as well as cell and molecular biology techniques to analyze the role of known morphogenetic signals such as Hedgehog and Retinoic Acid in the processes of lens and retina regeneration in the adult newt (Chapters 2 and 3). It also discusses the possibility that an ion transporter, Na+/K+ ATPase, might be a novel molecule involved in these regenerative processes (Chapter 4). Finally, it characterizes the tadpole of the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, as a new model system to study retina regeneration (Chapter 5). The results of this research increase our understanding of the regeneration process in animal models that have the ability to regenerate their eye structures, with the long term objective of extrapolating these results to other organisms including humans. This could have implications in the development of treatments for retinal degenerative diseases and cataracts, which, when untreated, lead to vision impairment and blindness.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Miami University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:lens retina regeneration newt xenopus


Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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