Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 266, Issue 1, pp 137–147 | Cite as

Morphology of the granular hemocytes of the Japanese horseshoe crabTachypleus tridentatus and immunocytochemical localization of clotting factors and antimicrobial substances

  • Yoshihiro Toh
  • Akiko Mizutani
  • Fuminori Tokunaga
  • Tatsushi Muta
  • Sadaaki Iwanaga


The structure of hemocytes in the normal state and during blood coagulation, and the intracellular localization of three clotting factors and two antimicrobial factors were examined in the Japanese horseshoe crabTachypleus tridentatus. Two types of hemocytes were found in the circulating blood: non-granular and granular hemocytes. The latter contained numerous dense granules classed into two major types: L- and D-granules. The L-granules were larger (up to 1.5 μm in diameter) and less electron-dense than the D-granules (less than 0.6 μm in diameter). The L-granules contained three clotting factors and one antimicrobial factor, whereas the D-granules exclusively contained the other antimicrobial factor. After treatment with endotoxin, the L-granules were released more rapidly than the D-granules, although almost all granules were finally exocytosed. The granular hemocyte possessed a single Golgi complex; possible precursor granules of L-granules and D-granules contained tubular and condensed dense material, respectively. These data are discussed in relation to the self-defense mechanisms of the horseshoe crab.

Key words

Clotting factors Antimicrobial substances Hemocytes Immunocytochemistry Tachypleus tridentatus (Chelicerata) 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yoshihiro Toh
    • 1
  • Akiko Mizutani
    • 1
  • Fuminori Tokunaga
    • 1
  • Tatsushi Muta
    • 1
  • Sadaaki Iwanaga
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan

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