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Title: Control of axial polarity in planarians by an endogenous electric field
Author: Annand, Stephanie
ISNI:       0000 0004 5361 6618
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2014
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Bioelectric fields are involved in patterning during embryonic development and play roles in regenerative growth and wound healing. Planaria are flatworms capable of regenerating whole new intact organisms from tiny portions of tissue, owing to a widespread population of adult somatic stem cells known as neoblasts. Previous research has suggested that an endogenous bioelectric field may contribute to the control of axial polarity and regenerative fate during planarian regeneration. By establishing novel techniques, we further investigated this hypothesis in experimentally relevant planarian species Dugesia japonica and Schmidtea mediterranea. Techniques were developed to measure transepithelial potential (TEP), record epithelial ion transport and apply exogenous electric fields to test the hypothesis that an endogenous electrical gradient contributes to axial regenerative polarity in planaria. We found that in the mesenchymal spaces of Dugesia japonica and Schmidtea mediterranea, a voltage gradient exists such that the head region is more negative than the tail. Importantly, this voltage gradient is maintained in regenerating amputated tissue fragments. Disrupting this endogenous electric field by means of exogenous DC electric field application induced regenerative anomalies affecting the anteroposterior axis. Reversal of the TEP gradient and regenerative polarity was achieved by application of an electric field that opposed the direction of the worm's natural electrical polarity, suggesting that the natural electrical gradient contributes to the control of polarity establishment during planarian regeneration.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Turbellaria ; Regeneration (Biology) ; Electric fields