First evidence of cell division in circulating haemocytes from the Manila clam Tapes philippinarum


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In the present study, we report on haemocyte distribution, determined by a Coulter Counter, in the clam Tapes philippinarum. In addition, cytoskeleton components of haemocytes were examined using specific probes for F-actin and α-tubulin. The mean number of circulating haemocytes was 5 (×106) cells/ml haemolymph. Two main haemocyte populations were found in the haemolymph: small cells, 2–3 μm in diameter and 10–100 fl in volume; and large cells, 6–10 μm in diameter and 150–400 fl in volume. Analysis of the haemocyte cytoskeleton revealed bundles of actin filaments oriented according to the cell major axis, and microtubules radiating from the microtubule-organizing centre in proximity of the nucleus. Interestingly, mitotic spindles were also found radiating from the microtubule-organizing centres, located at the spindle poles (centrosomes) of undifferentiated cells. On the basis of both our previous findings regarding circulating stem cells (Cima, F., Matozzo, V., Marin, M.G., Ballarin, L., 2000. Haemocytes of the clam Tapes philippinarum (Adams & Reeve, 1850): morphofunctional characterisation. Fish Shellfish Immunol 10, 677-693) and new information from the present study, we suggest that haemoblasts are able to divide in the haemolymph of T. philippinarum. To our knowledge, this is the first report of mitotic spindles in circulating haemocytes from a bivalve species.