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Morphology of regenerated spinal cord in Sternarchus albifrons

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The tail of the gymnotid Sternarchus albifrons, including the spinal cord, regenerates following amputation. Regenerated spinal cord shows a rostro-caudal gradient of differentiation. Cross sections of the most distal regenerated cord show radially enlarged ependymal cells, relatively undifferentiated cells, and numerous blood vessels. More anterior sections contain well differentiated electromotor neurons, glial cells, and myelinated axons. The number of electromotor-neuron cell bodies in cross sections of regenerated spinal cord is three to six times the number in nonregenerated cord. Distinct tracts of axons, easily identifiable in normal cord, are not distinguishable in cross sections of regenerated cord. Some reorganization of the spinal cord also appears to take place anterior to the site of transection.

Individual electromotor neurons in the regenerated spinal cord have morphologies largely similar to those of normal electrocytes, i.e., cell bodies are rounded, lack dendrites, have synapses characterized by gap junctions with presynaptic axons, and lack an unmyelinated initial segment. The presence of electromotor neurons with normal morphology in regenerated spinal cord correlates with the re-establishment of relatively normal electrocyte axonSchwann cell relationships in the regenerating electric organ of this sternarchid.

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Correspondence to Dr. Marilyn J. Anderson.

Additional information

Supported in part by the Medical Research Service, Veterans Administration and by a grant from the National Institutes of Health. We also thank the Paralyzed Veterans of America for their support. We thank Mary E. Smith and Susan Cameron for excellent technical support

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Anderson, M.J., Waxman, S.G. Morphology of regenerated spinal cord in Sternarchus albifrons . Cell Tissue Res. 219, 1–8 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00210014

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Key words

  • Regeneration
  • Spinal cord
  • Neurons
  • Ependyma
  • Electron microscopy