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Drug Discov Ther. 2011 Jun;5(3):125-9.

Hemocytes and humoral factors in silkworm blood are cooperatively involved in sheep erythrocyte aggregation.

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  • 1The Laboratory of Microbiology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


Sheep red blood cells (SRBCs) rapidly aggregated when injected into the blood (hemolymph) of living silkworms. SRBCs also rapidly aggregated when incubated with hemolymph in vitro. SRBCs did not aggregate when incubated with single hemolymph components, hemocytes and cell-free plasma separated by centrifugation, whereas incubation with the mixture of components induced SRBC aggregation, suggesting that both hemocytes and plasma are required for the reaction. Treatment of hemocytes with sodium azide inhibited SRBC aggregation. On the other hand, SRBCs pre-incubated with hemocytes aggregated in the plasma, even in the presence of sodium azide. SRBC aggregation was not observed when the SRBCs were physically separated from the hemocytes by a polycarbonate filter. These findings suggest that SRBCs are directly attacked by hemocytes and become sensitive to humoral factors that cause SRBC aggregation.

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