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The presence and effects of mammalian signal molecules in immunocytes of the insect Leucophaea maderae


Opioid peptides activate immunocytes and opiate alkaloids inhibit this activation in the mussel, Mytilus edulis. Here we present evidence that cells of another invertebrate, Leucophaea maderae, can be influenced in a similar way by the Met-enkephalin analogue D-Ala2-Met5-enkephalin (DAMA) and morphine. Effects of different signal molecules on Leucophaea hemocytes were evaluated by computer-assisted image analysis of their conformational state. A small percentage of the untreated cells were found to display spontaneous conformational changes after 25 min of incubation without pharmacological agents which was noted as a decrease in both circularity factor and shape factor values. Activation caused the cells to become elliptical, a feature that appears to be characteristic of Leucophaea immunocytes. Administration of DAMA induced a similar activation of most of the cells. After 30 min these DAMA-activated cells started to display distinct locomotory activity not seen in the controls. α-Melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH, 10−7) added to the incubation medium after DAMA-activation caused the cells to return to their original ”rounded” conformation. In addition, the presence of immunoreactive interleukin (IL-1), adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in the hemolymph was demonstrated. These data suggest an interaction between both vertebrate-type immunological signal molecules and neuropeptides in the regulation of immunological cells in Leucophaea.

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Received: 31 July 1995 / Accepted: 9 October 1995

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Scharrer, B., Paemen, L., Smith, E. et al. The presence and effects of mammalian signal molecules in immunocytes of the insect Leucophaea maderae . Cell Tissue Res 283, 93–97 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004410050516

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  • Key words: Immunocytes
  • DAMA
  • Cytokines
  • ACTH
  • MSH
  • Morphine
  • Leucophaea maderae (Insecta)