Indexed on: 09 May '06Published on: 09 May '06Published in: Anatomia, Histologia, Embryologia
A better understanding of regenerative growth is very important for the development of new potential strategies. Recently, the pineal secretory product melatonin was shown to stimulate the regeneration process. In this study, we carried out an experimental investigation of tail regeneration in young adult lizards, Ophisops elegans macrodactylus Berthold, 1842, addressing the role of melatonin on the regeneration process. Lizards were divided into three groups: constant light-exposed control group (n = 13), constant dark-exposed group (n = 15) and parachlorophenylalanine (p-CPA) treatment group exposed to constant light (n = 15). Using a tail autotomy procedure, the effects of p-CPA treatment on connective tissue together with neural tissue and vascular tissue in regenerating tail in lizards were investigated. p-CPA (400 microg/kg body mass) was injected from day 0 to 30 days after autotomy. p-CPA treatment produced a significant increase in the length of the regenerated tail compared with light-exposed control and dark-exposed lizards. Total collagen content was found to be higher in p-CPA-treated animals in comparison with other groups. Histologically, a higher percentage of connective tissue and vascular tissue and a lower percentage of neural tissue were found in the regenerated tails of the p-CPA-treated lizards. Importantly, the percentage of neural tissue in lizards in the dark-exposed animals was higher than that in animals of both light-exposed and p-CPA treatment groups. Thus, it is clear that p-CPA has a stimulatory influence on fibroblast collagen production and vascularization of the regenerated tail in the lizards. Furthermore, it seems that the neural regeneration process was markedly enhanced in lizards exposed to continuous darkness. Based on the results of our study, it is suggested that melatonin may be an active factor that speeds up the rate of tail regeneration in lacertilians.