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Epimorphic regeneration of the distal part of the planarian pharynx


The totipotent stem cells called neoblasts seem to be concerned with the remarkable regeneration ability of planarians. However, the pharynx is able to regenerate after the amputation of its distal part, in spite of a lack of neoblasts in the pharynx. The process of regeneration has been referred to as morphallaxis, based on conventional histochemical observations. We examined it again immuno-histochemically using anti-Dugesia japonica proliferating cell nuclear antigen (DjPCNA) antibody for neoblasts and anti-D. japonica myosin heavy chain-A (DjMHC-A) antibody for pharynx muscle fibers. This immuno-histochemical study, together with observations of the regeneration process of planarians irradiated with X-rays in particular regions, revealed that after the amputation, neoblasts from outside the pharynx entered that organ, moved through the mesenchyme of the pharynx to the wounded area, and differentiated into the cells that had been lost there. We show here that the regeneration after amputation of the distal part of the pharynx is an 'epimorphic' process.

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Ito, H., Saito, Y., Watanabe, K. et al. Epimorphic regeneration of the distal part of the planarian pharynx. Dev Genes Evol 211, 2–9 (2001).

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