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Keywords:

  • Amphibia;
  • Kupffer cells;
  • macrophages;
  • pinocytosis;
  • phagocytosis;
  • melanogenesis

Abstract

Amphibia Kupffer cells (i.e., liver resident macrophages) show many common characteristics when compared with Mammalia Kupffer cells: filopodia, microvillous-like structures, lamellipodia, fuzzy coat, coated vesicles, bristled vacuoles, nonspecific esterase activity, and pinocytotic and phagocytic activity are present both in Amphibia and Mammalia Kupffer cells. On the other hand, some differences are present between Kupffer cells of both zoological classes: phagocytosed red cells and their derivatives, iron–protein complexes, and lipofuscin bodies are normally present in Amphibia Kupffer cells, but absent in the same cells of healthy mammals. Worm-like structures are not seen in Amphibia and endogenous peroxidase activity is very weak in these animals compared with Mammalia. The most important difference lies in the ability of Amphibia Kupffer cells to produce melanins: in fact the tyrosinase gene is expressed, “melanosome centers” are present, and dopa oxidase activity is demonstrable. Microsc. Res. Tech. 57:477–490, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.