Reaction of Blood Cells in Ostrea edulis and Crassostrea gigas: A Nonspecific Response of Differentiated Cells

  • G. Balouet
  • M. Poder
Part of the Comparative Pathobiology book series (CPATH, volume 8)


During the past 20 or 30 years considerable progress has been achieved in the field of molluscan hematology, especially in the identification of the main types of blood cells. In bivalve molluscs, what is now known can be summarized as follows:
  1. (1)

    Description in hemolymph of two basic types of hemocytes, granular and agranular, respectively, these have been designated as granulocytes and hyalinocytes. The most common equivalent term for the granulocyte is the amoebocyte, and that for the hyalinocyte is the hyaline hemocyte or lymphocyte-like cell. The latter designation is based solely on morphological similarities with vertebrates lymphocytes, without functional or immunological implications.

    The third type of hemocyte, i.e., the serous cell or pigment cell, is found principally in connective tissue, and is apparently different in its histogenesis, morphology, and physiology. These cells serve an excretory function.

  2. (2)

    As a result of the absence of a histologically defined hematopoietic organ (Cheng, 1981) and concrete information relative to the stages of cell renewal, several hypotheses have been proposed; furthermore, in some bivalve species, descriptions of progenitor or stem cells have been contributed (Mix, 1976; Moore and Lowe, 1977). Such stem cells have been reported scattered or arranged in small groups in connective tissue. In our opinion, confirmation, especially by labelling techniques, is required before the nature of these cells can be accepted. Presently, we can only state that the same cells are found in hemolymph vessels, the pericardial cavity, and connective tissue, and that no characteristic fixed hemocytes occur in bivalves. In these molluscs, exchanges between circulating and interstitial compartments are favored because of the semi-closed (or open) arrangement of the vascular system.

  3. (3)

    No specific immunologically active substances, such as immunoglobulins or complement, have been demonstrated thus far in any mollusc (Cheng, 1978b; Bayne et al., 1980) but hemagglutinins or opsonins apparently occur in some invertebrates. Moreover, lysosomal enzyme activities have been demonstrated in many molluscan species, especially in bivalves; these include esterases, phosphatases, and peroxidases, which are clearly present in normal and reactive hemocytes. It has been proposed that these enzymes represent one of the most important components of cellular defense (Cheng, 1978a).



Chronic Granulomatous Disease Bivalve Mollusc Pacific Oyster Cellular Reaction Crassostrea Virginica 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Balouet
    • 1
  • M. Poder
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de PathologieFaculté de MédecineBrest CedexFrance

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