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Nervous System Compensation Following Tail Loss and Regeneration in the Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius)

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Title: Nervous System Compensation Following Tail Loss and Regeneration in the Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius)
Author: Bradley, Stefanie
Department: Department of Biomedical Sciences
Program: Biomedical Sciences
Advisor: Vickaryous, Matthew
Abstract: Mass change is a physical phenomenon with important implications for biomechanics and locomotion. Here, we used the leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius) to investigate the effect of a drastic change in mass following tail loss (autotomy), and subsequent regeneration of the tail. We assessed two components of the nervous system: tactile sensitivity, and Purkinje cell neuromorphology. Using Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments, we found regional differences in tactile sensitivity prior to autotomy. Following tail autotomy, the hindlimbs became significantly more sensitive, while the forelimbs did not. Golgi-Cox staining of Purkinje cells showed that tail autotomy had no significant effect on Purkinje cell structure. However, after 30 days of tail regeneration, there was evidence of dendritic remodeling corresponding to the interval where parallel fibers synapse with Purkinje cell dendrites. Together, these data provide support for short-term (transient) compensation of the peripheral nervous system, and long-term compensation of the central nervous system, in geckos following autotomy.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/14724
Date: 2019-01
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