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Scar-free wound healing and regeneration in the leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius)

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Title: Scar-free wound healing and regeneration in the leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius)
Author: Delorme, Stephanie
Department: Department of Biomedical Sciences
Program: Biomedical Sciences
Advisor: Vickaryous, Matthew
Abstract: Scar-free wound healing and regeneration are uncommon phenomena permitting the near complete restoration of damaged tissues, organs and structures. Although rare in mammals, many lizards are able to undergo scarless healing and regeneration following loss of the tail. This study investigated the spontaneous and intrinsic capacity of the leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius) tail to undergo scar-free wound healing and regeneration following two different forms of tail loss: autotomy, a voluntary and evolved mechanism of tail shedding at fracture planes; and surgical amputation, involuntary loss of the tail outside the fracture planes. Furthermore, I investigated the ability of the regenerate tail to regenerate by amputating a regenerate tail (previously lost by autotomy). To investigate these phenomena I imaged wound healing and regenereating tails daily (following autotomy and amputation) to document gross morphological changes. I used histochemistry to document tissue structure and immunohistochemistry to determine the tissue/cellular location of my five proteins of interest (PCNA, MMP-9, WE6, α-sma, TGF-β3). Each of these proteins of interest has been previously documented during wound healing and/or regeneration in other wound healing/regeneration model organisms (e.g. mice, urodeles, lizards, zebrafish). Scar-free wound healing and regeneration occurred following autotomy, amputation of the original tail and amputation of the regenerate tail, indicating that the leopard gecko tail has an instrinsic scar-free wound healing and regenerative capacity that is independent of the mode of tail loss (autotomy or amputation). Furthermore immunohistochemistry revealed a conserved sequence and location of the expression of the five proteins of interest following both forms of tail loss. These results provide the basis for further studies investigating scar-free wound healing and regeneration in a novel amniote model, the leopard gecko.
Date: 2011-10

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