Induced cell proliferation in putative haematopoietic tissues of the sea star, Asterias rubens (L.).
The coelomic fluid of the echinoderm Asterias rubens possesses large populations of circulating coelomocytes. This study aimed to expand the knowledge about the haematopoietic sources of these cells. Injection of the immune-stimulating molecules lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and concanavalin A (ConA) resulted in an increase in coelomocytes. To investigate if these molecules induce cell proliferation in putative haematopoietic tissues (HPTs), short-term exposure of the substitute nucleotide 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) was conducted. Immunohistochemical analysis, using fluorescein-labelled antibodies to trace BrdU, showed pronounced cell division in the coelomic epithelium and axial organ. In the pyloric caeca, not considered as an HPT, proliferation was not detected. BrdU labelling of monolayers of cells obtained by collagenase treatment of coelomic epithelium, axial organ and Tiedemann body revealed induced cell proliferation in response to both LPS and ConA while proliferation of pyloric caeca and circulating coelomocytes remained sparse. By using confocal microscopy it was observed that both the morphology and functional behaviour of cells released from explants of coelomic epithelium showed high similarity to those of circulating phagocytes. It was concluded that the increased coelomocyte numbers observed in response to LPS and ConA were reflected in an induced cell proliferation in coelomic epithelium, axial organ and Tiedemann body, which reinforces the idea that these organs are HPTs and the sources of coelomocyte renewal.