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Arch Insect Biochem Physiol. 2008 Feb;67(2):63-75.

Correlation of hemocyte counts with different developmental parameters during the last larval instar of the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta.

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Insitute for General and Special Zoology, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Giessen, Germany.


We determined the changes in hemocyte titer and in the abundance of hemocyte types of the tobacco hornworm Manduca sexta during the fourth and fifth larval stadium and the beginning of the pupal stadium. As we analyzed the samples of individual insects at daily intervals, we were able to correlate phenotypical features, body weight, as well as total protein content and lysozyme activity in the hemolymph with the observations on hemocytes. In the course of the fifth larval stadium, the hemocyte titer decreased slightly and declined further after pupation. Using calculated values for total hemocyte numbers, females had about five times and males three times more hemocytes in the circulating population at the beginning of the wandering stage (in the middle of the fifth larval stadium) than immediately after the last larval--larval molt (from the fourth to the fifth larval stadium). This sexual difference was mainly due to an increase in the number of plasmatocytes, which was more prominent in females than in males. Granular cells were dominant in early fifth larval stadium while plasmatocytes were the most abundant cells in pupae. Oenocytoids and spherule cells disappeared during the wandering stage. Lysozyme activity in the hemolymph rose to a maximum during the wandering stage, with females having lysozyme values twice as high as those for males. These changes in lysozyme activity, however, did not correlate with the increase of total hemolymph protein titer which occurred already at the beginning of the wandering stage. We postulate that changes in hemocyte titers are under direct hormonal control, which has to be proven in future experiments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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