Neuronal Specification of Cutaneous Nerves through Connections with Skin Grafts in the Frog

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Science  03 May 1968:
Vol. 160, Issue 3827, pp. 543-545
DOI: 10.1126/science.160.3827.543


Skin grafts were rotated 180 degrees in frog tadpoles. After metamorphosis, cutaneous reflexes were tested, and the receptive fields of cutaneous nerves were mapped electrophysiologically. Accurately localized limb movements were elicited by mechanical stimulation of normal skin, or of dorsal skin reimplanted on the back after 180-degree rotation. Reflexes misdirected to the original site of the stimulated skin were elicited from dorsoventrally inverted grafts, but not from anteroposteriorly inverted grafts. In most cases, the local nerves supplied the grafts, and each nerve entered the skin within its own receptive field. This observation eliminated the possibility that misdirected reflexes were due to selective regrowth of cutaneous nerves. We concluded that cutaneous nerves formed central synaptic associations which were specified by their new terminal connections with grafted skin.

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