The concentration of ascorbic acid (AA) and the histochemical distribution of the vitamin in the normal and regenerating tail of the gekkonid lizard, Hemidactylus flaviviridis, have been investigated.
In the regenerating tail of the lizard the AA concentration almost doubles during wound healing and becomes fivefold during differentiation. However, it falls almost to the normal level during the blastema phase (i.e. period between wound healing and differentiation). Again, during the growth period (i.e. after differentiation) the AA concentration gradually becomes reduced, reaching the normal mark as the regenerate regains the full length of the original tail. Nevertheless, the vitamin level does not fall below the normal mark at any stage of regeneration. Increase of ascorbic acid during wound healing is thought to be mainly due to increased demand for the vitamin at the broken ends of the stump tissues, for their repair and formation of wound epithelium; the vitamin is known to help these processes. A fivefold increase of the vitamin during the differentiation period corresponds to an increased pace of laying down of the matrix material for the connective tissues, suggesting the role of ascorbic acid in the formation of collagen and mucopolysaccharides. Besides, the role of ascorbic acid in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism is also important during tail regeneration. Fluctuations in the vitamin level during different phases of tail regeneration are correlated with various states of metabolic activities of the corresponding phases.