The Complement System in Sea Urchins

  • L. Courtney Smith
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 484)


Comparative immunology had its origin in the studies of inflammation by Elie Metchnikoff who proposed that the primary effectors of the immune response were circulating, amoeboid, phagocytic cells (Metchnikoff, 1891). In order to support this proposal, Metchnikoff reported that the bipinnaria larvae of a sea star would respond to physical injury (the introduction of rose prickles or glass rods into the larval blastocoel), to a normal infection by marine algae or to the artificial introduction of bacteria into the blastocoel with the encapsulation and phagocytosis of these foreign materials by accumulated amoeboid, phagocytic mesodermal cells. These studies were the first to demonstrate that echinoderms, and by inference according to Metchnikoff, all animals were capable of responding to inert substances, to injury and to foreign or pathogenic cells.


Complement System Complement Component Coelomic Fluid Complement Control Protein Serine Protease Domain 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Courtney Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences and the Graduate Program in GeneticsThe George Washington UniversityWashington

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