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J Invertebr Pathol. 2013 Jul;113(3):214-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jip.2013.03.010. Epub 2013 Apr 11.

Disseminated neoplasia causes changes in ploidy and apoptosis frequency in cockles Cerastoderma edule.

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Centro de Investigacións Mariñas, Xunta de Galicia, Aptdo. 13, 36620 Vilanova de Arousa, Spain.


A proliferative disease, usually referred as disseminated neoplasia (DN), shows high prevalence in some cockle Cerastoderma edule beds of Galicia (NW Spain). Chromosome counts, examination of chromosome morphology, DNA quantification by flow cytometry and estimation of apoptosis frequency by TUNEL assay and flow cytometry were performed in cockles with different DN severity. Metaphases obtained from gills of DN-affected cockles displayed a chromosome number ranging from 41 to 145, while normal number is 38; changes in chromosome morphology were also evident, with numerous microchromosomes occurring. Haemolymph flow cytometry analysis revealed difference in DNA content between healthy and DN-affected cockles. Aneuploid peaks ranged from 1.3n to 8.9n. Apoptosis frequency was determined on histological sections (TUNEL assay) and haemolymph samples (flow cytometry). Both techniques revealed neoplastic cells in apoptosis. The higher DN severity, the lower the percentage of apoptotic cells. According to flow cytometry results, the negative association between DN severity and apoptosis frequency only affected the neoplastic cells, whereas DN did not significantly affect the percentage of apoptotic hyalinocytes or apoptotic granulocytes.

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