Evidences for Molecular Specificities Involved in Molluscan Inflammation

  • Thomas C. Cheng
Part of the Comparative Pathobiology book series (CPATH, volume 8)


Cellular inflammatory response to nonself materials is a universal phenomenon in the Animal Kingdom. To refresh our memories, inflammation, as generally defined, is the reaction of tissues to insult. The process is characterized by local heat, swelling, redness, and pain. These characteristics have been defined as a result of observations on vertebrates, particularly mammals. As our knowledge of inflammation as revealed by studying invertebrates, especially molluscs, has progressed, it is becoming increasingly evident that these characteristics need not all be present, especially conspicuous swelling and redness. Also, I would like to advance the idea that nonspecific inflammatory response does not occur in molluscs or any other group of animals. In other words, there is some degree of specificity at the molecular level in all instances of cellular inflammation. The evidences for this statement are presented later. At this point, I wish to review in a conceptual manner the various phenomena which collectively comprise cellular response to insult in molluscs. Specifically, as depicted in Fig. 1, I intend to point out that cellular infiltration and subsequent events in molluscs, as in other groups of animals, involves (1) chemotactic attraction of reaction cells to the insulting agent, (2) surface recognition of self from nonself on the part of reaction cells and attachment of the nonself insulting agent to such cells, (3) endocytosis or encapsulation, and (4) intracelluar events leading to degradation and elimination of the insulting agent. As will become apparent at a later point, the reason for reviewing these phases of cellular reaction to challenge is that in terms of modern cell biology, there appears to be specific recognition sites involved at each phase, hence my thesis that nonspecific inflammatory response per se does not occur.


Lysosomal Enzyme Schematic Drawing Lysozyme Activity Crassostrea Virginica Molecular Specificity 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas C. Cheng
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Biomedical Research Program and Department of Anatomy (Cell Biology)Medical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA

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