Little is known about the immune system of cephalopods, in spite of their many highly derived characters within the molluscan clade, including a vertebrate-like high-pressure closed circulatory system. Further the economic importance of cephalopod fisheries, potential for aquaculture, and use as ecotoxicology models demand a thorough understanding of their immune system. In this study, we present a comprehensive characterization of hemocytes in the common cuttlefish Sepia officinalis. Cytological stainings, electron microscopy- and flow cytometry-observations highlight a single granulocyte population with various densities of eosinophilic granules and unstained vesicles. These hemocytes contain acid phosphatase-, lysozyme- and proPO system enzymes, and have high activity in bead phagocytosis assays. Interestingly, bead pre-incubation in plasma results in time-dependent aggregation perhaps resulting from hemocyanin-coating, and decrease in phagocytosis. This study provides the basis for understanding hemocyte-mediated immunity in the common cuttlefish, and essential background for future studies on cephalopod immunity.
Keywords: Cephalopod mollusks; Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis); Enzymatic assay; Hemocyte population; Phagocytosis.
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