Cytometric, morphologic and enzymatic characterisation of haemocytes in Anodonta cygnea

I. M. Soares-Da-Silva, J. Ribeiro, C. Valongo, R. Pinto, M. Vilanova, R. Bleher, J. Machado*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The haemocytes in bivalve mussels are involved in many processes such as lesion repair, shell repair, elimination of small particles and toxic substances. In Anodonta cygnea there are two categories of haemolymph cells, the granulocytes and hyalinocytes. Two groups of cells were identified by flow cytometry and morphological studies: one with larger size and granularity representing 75%, and another group of cells (25%) which were approximately half the size. The cytochemical reactions showed peroxidase activity in the larger cells and a weak prophenoloxidase activity in the smaller cells. These characteristics suggest that the most common haemocytes are granulocytes and hyalinocytes are less common. Enzymatic studies showed clear activities of few enzymes in different compartments of the mantle. Both haemocytes presented significant variations for α-manosidase and β-glucurosidase activities depending on the acid or alkaline pH. Almost all were sensitive to the pH changes, mainly the β-galactosidase in the haemolymph plasma. On the contrary, the same enzymatic analysis in the extrapallial elements showed more stabilised activities. The simulation of acidic and alkaline condition with the observation of significant morphological and enzymatic activity changes, allow us to speculate some functional role, mainly in the haemolymph elements. The granulocytes may be speculated to have intense involvement in the digestion of small residues with the formation of calcareous stores while the hyalinocytes are more responsible for the elimination of soluble cytotoxic compounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)541-553
Number of pages13
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Bivalve
  • Calcareous concretions
  • Enzymatic activity
  • Flow cytometry
  • Haemocytes
  • Morphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology


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