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AB 2:85-92 (2008)  -  DOI:

Morphological and ultrastructural characterization of the coelomocytes in Apostichopus japonicus

Kun Xing1,2, Hong Sheng Yang1,*, Mu Yan Chen1,2

1Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 7 Nanhai Road, Qingdao, Shandong 266071, PR China
2Graduate School, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, PR China
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: The coelomocytes suspended in the coelomic fluid and occurring in the coelomic epithelial layer of the sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus (Selenka) (Holothuroidea: Aspidochirota: Stichopodidae) function as mediators of the immune system, trephocytic cells and nutrient transport cells. Types of coelomocytes are characterized based on their morphological and ultrastructural features. Flow cytometry plus light and electron microscopic analyses were conducted in order to characterize the coelomocytes of A. japonicus. Six types of coelomocytes were identified: lymphocytes, morula cells, amoebocytes, crystal cells, fusiform cells and vibratile cells. Within these major categories, several distinctive cell types occurred that might represent developmental stages. The mean ± SD coelomocyte concentration in the individuals (body length: 10 to 15 cm; weight: 100 to 150 g) was (3.79 ± 0.65) × 106 cells ml-1. The coelomic fluid contained mainly hyalinocytes (76.69%) and granulocytes (23.31%).

KEY WORDS: Sea cucumber · Coelomocyte · Morphology · Ultrastructure

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Cite this article as: Xing K, Yang HS, Chen MY (2008) Morphological and ultrastructural characterization of the coelomocytes in Apostichopus japonicus. Aquat Biol 2:85-92.

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