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Transplantation of axolotl heads

This is a discussion on Transplantation of axolotl heads within the Axolotl General Discussion forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Hello everyone, Today while I was reading through the following website: http://www.livingunderworld.org/biology/caudata/ I checked the references for further information on ...

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Old 24th May 2008   #1 (permalink)
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Question Transplantation of axolotl heads

Hello everyone,

Today while I was reading through the following website:
http://www.livingunderworld.org/biology/caudata/ I checked the references for further information on axolotls and noticed there is article called 'Developmental Biology of Axolotls'. Of course, I went ahead and googled this article hoping that I would find it on the internet. Sure enough, I located the article but I could not access it unless I purchased the information. So I decided to go my University and try to find the article after I discovered that it is published by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Fortunately, I found the article and amongst others; including a certain article called 'Transplantation of axolotl heads'.

I will only provide the abstract for the journal*:

"Favourable conditions for organ transplantation exists for some populations of European laboratory axolotls, making transplantation of heads possible. Survival of the transplants is prolonged because homograft reactivity of the host animals is absent. Heads transplanted to the backs of other axolotls grow rapidly and show many reactions characteristic of normal axolotl heads. The behaviour of the transplants is independent of that of the host animals."

* de Both, NJ, 1968, 'Transplantation of axolotl heads', American Association for the Advancement of Science' vol. 162, issue no. 3852, pp 460-461

After reading this journal, I am very intriguied now and would like to know if anybody else has stumbled on this peculiar experiment.

All comments welcome

Jay.



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Old 24th May 2008   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Transplantation of axolotl heads

Wow I dont think I could even stomach reading this article in full. Just seems to me thats crossing a moral line. Just my opinion. I can't even try to visualize this, to out there for me.



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Old 24th May 2008   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Transplantation of axolotl heads

Very interesting in my opinion, brings up loads of questions and answers...would like to read the article too!



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Old 24th May 2008   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Transplantation of axolotl heads

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Originally Posted by Terri9967 View Post
Wow I dont think I could even stomach reading this article in full. Just seems to me thats crossing a moral line. Just my opinion. I can't even try to visualize this, to out there for me.
What moral line is that? Theirs probably more of a moral line crossed when I put on my leather shoes or eat a pork chop than using axolotls for legitimate research.

I find all of the grafting, splicing, and cell growth research with salamanders intriguing. Much of it will dead end but imagine the possibilities of ultimately using some of the knowledge we acquire from these studies and applying it to mammals.



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Old 24th May 2008   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Transplantation of axolotl heads

I also read something similar the other day Jay. It was descriptions of actually transplanting whole axolotl bodies onto the bodies of other axolotls and they still kept on growing and surviving. I shall see if I can find it again.



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Old 25th May 2008   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Transplantation of axolotl heads

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Originally Posted by gr33neyes View Post
I also read something similar the other day Jay. It was descriptions of actually transplanting whole axolotl bodies onto the bodies of other axolotls and they still kept on growing and surviving. I shall see if I can find it again.
Thanks for that greeneyes I'm very interested to see what else axolotls are capable of- for scientific reasons of course.

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Originally Posted by coendeurloo View Post
Very interesting in my opinion, brings up loads of questions and answers...would like to read the article too!
You can try purchasing the journal but unfortunately I cannot give it to you directly because of legal reasons. My apologies matey
However, I can tell you the basic methodology for the experiement. Basically, what happened was that they decapitated the head of a larvae, just behind its gills and then they attached the head to an older axolotl which had already sustained a superficial wound. Subsequent observations where made on the growth rate and innervations of the transplanted head and the heads of the intact larvae and the head of the older axolotl.

Jay.



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Old 19th December 2011   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Transplantation of axolotl heads

Relevant -> head-transplant.html



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Old 19th December 2011   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Transplantation of axolotl heads

Seems very inhumane, but very very interesting : o



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Old 19th December 2011   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Transplantation of axolotl heads

Quote:
What moral line is that? Theirs probably more of a moral line crossed when I put on my leather shoes or eat a pork chop than using axolotls for legitimate research.
Leather shoes n eating a pork chop are great! moral line would be what is the purpose of adding a secondary useless (even if motor functions work) head onto anthers body? What research purpose is that? I can see n understand looking at the Axolotls regenerative properties by cutting out a chunk of spine etc and studying THAT in regards to possible human health issues. Say replacing the use of stem cells to something from an axolotl? That would be awesome. Maybe then they could do more pig heart transplants into people.

My thought is What is the point? Sick curiosity? I love a good leather boot as well as a good veal steak. It ani't cruel if it has a legitimate purpose. I don't see the scientific need to study a random head stitched onto a body part where it serves NO purpose other then "Hey look what I did!" or "Look what these axolotls will withstand" What is the point????

It may be just my opinion, but curiosity killed the cat n humiliated the Axolotl.
Mind you it is Human nature to look at freak things, Like the circus with the 'Lobster family" n the bearded lady n the contortionists n the 'elephant man'. Lots of people like looking at oddities and creating them for their own pleasure.



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Old 19th December 2011   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Transplantation of axolotl heads

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Originally Posted by Light of Dae View Post

My thought is What is the point? Sick curiosity? I love a good leather boot as well as a good veal steak. It ani't cruel if it has a legitimate purpose. I don't see the scientific need to study a random head stitched onto a body part where it serves NO purpose other then "Hey look what I did!" or "Look what these axolotls will withstand" What is the point????
I haven't read the article in question, but I can certainly see a point to doing these kinds of experiments. The obvious benefit is that there is still much to be learned that may apply to human medical needs somewhere down the line. The more we learn about animal transplantation, the better we will understand what can (and cannot) be done in human transplantation. Would it be a good thing to be able to cure people with spinal cord injuries? Then maybe it's a good thing to understand how the nerves in that severed axolotl head re-attach and allow the transplant to have some functions. What is it about axolotls that allows nerves to re-attach, and how can we elicit this process in humans? The possibilities for learning important things are definitely there.



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Old 19th December 2011   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Transplantation of axolotl heads

Also, bare in mind that scientific studies are not conducted because of sick curiosity. In fact that would almost certainly grant you a kick in the butt from the entire scientific community. When animals are used in research, there is a strict protocol of what is acceptable and what is not, plus the study needs to be fully justified. Essentially you are not allowed to manipulate live animals unless you comply with a series of directives. I haven´t read the article so i´m not sure what exactly the purpose of this specific study is, although like Jen, i can think of plenty of useful knowledge that could come from this. I can assure you, though, that it is justified and controlled.



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Old 19th December 2011   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Transplantation of axolotl heads

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Also, bare in mind that scientific studies are not conducted because of sick curiosity. In fact that would almost certainly grant you a kick in the butt from the entire scientific community. When animals are used in research, there is a strict protocol of what is acceptable and what is not, plus the study needs to be fully justified. Essentially you are not allowed to manipulate live animals unless you comply with a series of directives. I haven´t read the article so i´m not sure what exactly the purpose of this specific study is, although like Jen, i can think of plenty of useful knowledge that could come from this. I can assure you, though, that it is justified and controlled.
this is true. Any animal research done in the US has to go through a strict institutional animal-care-review. Among other things, scientists have to demonstrate that the research will lead to new findings and does NOT replicate anything done before, and that every possible care is taken to minimize the animals' suffering.

Does cruel and unnecessary research still happen? It's possible, but far less likely than it used to be, before there were these strict rules.

Caudates are of interest for their amazing nerve-and tissue regeneration abilities. To someday to be able to heal spinal cord injuries, paralysis, or even re-grow severed limbs....it all starts with experiments such as these.



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Old 21st December 2011   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Transplantation of axolotl heads

If there are other articles about this I'd be interested in reading more. Like ( I know this seems crazy to ask ) would the Axolotl be able to see through its second set of eyes?



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Old 21st December 2011   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Transplantation of axolotl heads

Just had a quick look at that and the author was investigating eye cells. He needed to develop some tissue so he was using the axolotl larvae for this purpose. I sincerely hope something useful came out of that experiment, because it just creeped me the hell out.

xC



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Old 21st December 2011   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Transplantation of axolotl heads

The professor that performed this experiment was on staff and had access to the former Univ. of Indiana Axolotl Colony which <I think> is now at Univ. of Kentucky. Prof Paul Pietsch passed away in 2009 and it doesn't appear that anyone has replicated or continued his earlier experiments. In the article he mentions that he would "need more animals than exist in the stock of the Indiana University Axolotl Colony."



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Old 25th December 2011   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Transplantation of axolotl heads

To put it in non-clinical terms: That is seriously neat!



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