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Dev Comp Immunol. 2015 Oct;52(2):269-79. doi: 10.1016/j.dci.2015.04.001. Epub 2015 Apr 8.

Immune system participates in brain regeneration and restoration of reproduction in the earthworm Dendrobaena veneta.

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Department of Comparative Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Pecs University, Hungary.
Department of Evolutionary Immunology, Institute of Zoology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland.
Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University.
Cardiff School of Biosciences, Main Building, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3US, Wales, UK.
Department of Evolutionary Immunology, Institute of Zoology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland. Electronic address:


Earthworm decerebration causes temporary inhibition of reproduction which is mediated by certain brain-derived neurohormones; thus, cocoon production is an apposite supravital marker of neurosecretory center functional recovery during brain regeneration. The core aim of the present study was to investigate aspects of the interactions of nervous and immune systems during brain regeneration in adult Dendrobaena veneta (Annelida; Oligochaeta). Surgical brain extirpation was combined, either with (i) maintenance of immune-competent coelomic cells (coelomocytes) achieved by surgery on prilocaine-anesthetized worms or (ii) prior extrusion of fluid-suspended coelomocytes by electrostimulation. Both brain renewal and cocoon output recovery were significantly faster in earthworms with relatively undisturbed coelomocyte counts compared with individuals where coelomocyte counts had been experimentally depleted. These observations provide empirical evidence that coelomocytes and/or coelomocyte-derived factors (e.g. riboflavin) participate in brain regeneration and, by implication, that there is close functional synergy between earthworm neural and immune systems.


Cerebral ganglia; Cocoon production; Coelomocytes; Earthworms; Immune-neuroendocrine interactions; Riboflavin

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