Abnormal limb regeneration in adult newts exposed to a pulsed electromagnetic field

Teratology. 1990 Aug;42(2):137-45. doi: 10.1002/tera.1420420205.


This investigation examined two questions: 1) whether or not forelimb regeneration results in a faithful replacement of the distal skeletal pattern and 2) what effect exposure to a pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF), the type reported to facilitate healing of human non-united bone fractures, would have on the process of limb regeneration. Of the native forelimbs, 98% (132 out 134) had a skeletal pattern that showed little difference with the only variation being the range of carpal bones (5-8). Following a 4-5 month postamputation period, the skeletal pattern of the normal regenerates was examined. While 72% (135 out of 188) of these forelimbs resembled the native group, 28% (53 out of 188) were abnormal. These abnormalities consisted of the loss of a digit, fused carpals, and long bone defects which occurred singly or in combination with one another. Exposure to a PEMF for the first 30 days postamputation, followed by a 3-4 month postamputation period, produced in addition to the normal (60%, 144 out of 240) and abnormal forelimbs (28%, 67 out of 240), a group of forelimbs with unique gross defects (12%, 28 out of 240). These defects, occurring singly or in combination, included the loss of two or more digits with associated loss of carpals, absence of the entire hand pattern, and abnormalities associated with the radius and ulna. We can offer no explanation for these observations.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Regeneration*
  • Carpal Bones / abnormalities*
  • Carpal Bones / growth & development
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Forelimb / abnormalities*
  • Forelimb / growth & development
  • Salamandridae