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Skin flaps inhibit both the current of injury at the amputation surface and regeneration of that limb in newts.


For over two decades, we have been investigating a strong (ca. 20-100 microA/cm2), outwardly directed electric current driven through the limb stump for the first few days following amputation in regenerating salamanders. This current is driven through the stump in a proximal/distal direction by the amiloride-sensitive transcutaneous voltage of the intact skin of the stump. Limb regeneration can be manipulated by several technique that manipulate this physiology, demonstrating that the ionic current is necessary, but not sufficient, for normal regeneration of the amphibian limb. Here, we demonstrate that a full thickness graft of skin covering the forelimb stump of newts strikingly inhibits the regeneration of the limb, and that this procedure is also highly correlated to a suppression of peak outwardly directed stump currents in those animals that fail to regenerate.