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Antigenically activated avian erythrocytes release cytokine-like factors: a conserved phylogenetic function discovered in fish.

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Department of Animal Health and Welfare, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bari, Bari, Italy.


Fish erythrocytes are endowed with the ability to produce cytokine like factors when stimulated with Candida albicans (Ca). To evaluate whether similar activities are still conserved in bird erythrocytes (BE), a morphological, cytochemical and immunological evaluation was conducted on peripheral cells in chickens (Gallus gallus). BE form rosettes with monocytes (Mo)-macrophages (MØ), and Mo-MØ according to cytochemical analysis to maintain phagocytic functions across the evolution. Finally, Ca-activated BE release in the supernatants cytokine like-factors that enhance Mo-MØ phagocytosis (interferon-gamma-like activity) and inhibit Mo-MØ migration in agarose (migration inhibitory factor activity). In conclusion, bird erythrocytes, as nonimmune cells, are able to participate in the immune response contributing to the host defence.

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