Lysozyme immunoreactive molecules (irLm) in Planorbarius corneus was demonstrated by an immunocytochemical method in oocytes, the kidney, spreading phagocytic hemocytes (SH), digestive phagocytic cells, and epithelial cells of the stomach and intestine. Three hr after the injection of a variety of bacteria or substances (S. aureus, E. coli, E. coli LPS, latex particles, PBS) a statistically significant increase in irLm serum level was detected by the microELISA method. Twenty-four hr later, this increase was detected only in specimens which had been injected with bacteria. A similar response was observed 14 days later, following a second injection of the above-mentioned substances in the same snails. The results suggest that: 1) irLm appears to be an inducible molecule responding non-specifically to foreign challenge; 2) no anamnestic response is observed for irLm; 3) a relationship exists between irLm and phagocytosis; indeed, irLm have chemotactic activity towards SH; 4) serum irLm probably originates from different sources; in fact, they are released from SH and the kidney. The increase in the serum irLm level is responsible, at least in part, for the lytic attack and death of bacteria, but it is probably also involved in unspecific inflammatory reactions. © 1991.
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