Date of Award

Spring 1964

Document Type



Life & Environmental Sciences


Ever since I first learned that nervous tissues of the central nervous system once differentiated will never again undergo mitotic division I have been fascinated by the mystery lying behind this fact. When I heard a lecture by C. W. Bodemer of the University of Washington Medical School on regeneration, I began contemplating this particular mystery of life. From Doctor Bodemer I learned that animals very low on the phylogenetic scale were capable of regenerating complete organisms from a relatively small part of that organism; however, this capability decreases as the phylogenetic scale is ascended. In his experiments, Doctor Bodemer used a frog which is normally incapable of regenerating an amputated limb.

But when the sciatic nerve of a hind limb was packed into the stump of a fore limb, a blastema was induced and regeneration of a new limb began. It was Doctor Bodemer*s contention that some factor associated with peripheral nerves was inducing this regeneration of whole limbs, including the innervating nerves.

With this in mind, I pondered the possibility of central nervous system neurons also possessing this factor, but for some reason had not been discovered or was being inhibited in some way. Therefore, I chose this topic for my thesis with the thought in mind of some way inducing regenerative phenomenon in the central nervous system. I soon learned that such research has been going on for over two hundred years and many positive advances have been made. Nonetheless, I pursued the subject further to learn more of this puzzling mystery and planned an experiment to test some of my own ideas. Because of an allergy to the experimental rats, I was forced to abandon the project, but I will discuss some of my ideas at the end of this paper.