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Differentiation of immune cells challenged by bacteria in the common European starfish, Asterias rubens (Echinodermata)

Differentiation of immune cells challenged by bacteria in the common European starfish, Asterias rubens (Echinodermata)

European Journal of Cell Biology 81(7): 413-418

ISSN/ISBN: 0171-9335

PMID: 12160149

DOI: 10.1078/0171-9335-00254

Amoebocytes are the main effector cells of the echinoderm immune system. In starfishes, a taxon in which bacterial diseases have been rarely reported, amoebocytes are considered to be the only circulating and immune cell type. The present paper addresses the question of amoebocyte differentiation in the starfish Asterias rubens when challenged by bacteria. Starfishes were injected with FITC-coupled bacteria (Micrococcus luteus). Amoebocytes were collected at regular time intervals for 24 h. The cytometric characteristics and the phagocytic activity were studied by flow cytometry. Three amoebocyte groups of different size were identified. The cell concentrations of the two largest and more numerous of these groups (G2 and G3) were modulated by immune stimulation while the group of smallest, less numerous, cells (G1) was unaffected. All of these cell groups were phagocytic but their kinetics of cell activation and bacteria ingestion differed. G1 cells showed the lowest phagocytic activity while G3 cells had the highest and fastest phagocytic activity. Starfish amoebocytes appear to be segregated in three groups, two of them (G2 and G3) being immunomodulated and one of them presenting a very fast reaction to bacteria. It is suggested that the high efficiency of the immune system in starfishes is related to this fast reaction.

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Accession: 003713993

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