Cells of amputated, denervated larval Ambystoma forelimbs dedifferentiate and enter the cell cycle but do not subsequently proliferate sufficiently to form a blastema. The denervated limb stump resorbs slowly until reinnervation stimulates regeneration. We used this system to investigate the fate of cells in denervated limbs which undergo early but limited cycling in response to amputation. In Experiment 1, cells were labeled with [3H]thymidine (3H-T) on Day 4 postamputation (PA)/Day 3 postdenervation (PD). Labeled cells were still present on Day 7 PA, but were less frequently observed on Day 13 PA when the limbs were reinnervated and beginning to regenerate. In Experiment 2 we denervated 1 day preamputation to obtain earlier reinnervation and prevent loss of Day 4 PA labeled cells. Cells labeled with 3H-T on Day 4 PA/Day 5 PD were present throughout the denervation period and most were still present on Day 13 PA. Little or no mitotic activity was found among the labeled cells after the initial round of cycling. The apparent cell cycle block was released upon reinnervation on Days 12 and 13 PA when cycling resumed. Labeled mitotic figures were present on Day 13 PA, and the mitotic index of the labeled population increased as a result of reinnervation. These results demonstrate that blocked cells are rescued by nerves, re-enter the cell cycle, and thus contribute to the reinnervation blastema.