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J Comp Physiol B. 1987;157(1):77-83.

Cytotoxic activity in the coelomic fluid of the annelid Eisenia foetida Sav.


The annelid Eisenia foetida not only causes hemolysis of red blood cells of several vertebrate species, but also has a toxic effect on a variety of cell types, such as chicken fibroblasts, guinea-pig polymorphonuclear leukocytes and insect hemocytes. However, it has no influence on the vitality of the coelomocytes of Lumbricus terrestris and other lumbricides, nor on the hemocytes of the snail Helix pomatia, the mussels Anodonta cygnea and Unio tumidus, free cells of the turbellarian Euplanaria sp. or whole Rhabditis oxycerca (nematode) and the protozoons Paramaecium caudatum and an amoeba of the Proteus-type. By electrofocussing the hemolytic activity of pooled coelomic fluid was separated into 7 hemolytic bands. Three of them are cytotoxic. The cytotoxic effect is a result of the destruction of the cell membrane, as shown by measuring the release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). The bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal action of the coelomic fluid of E. foetida against a broad spectrum of gram positive and gram negative bacteria was tested. An antibacterial activity could be observed only against Proteus vulgaris and Bacillus megaterium. It was noted that the so-called Eisenia foetida-factor acts on an antigenic structure at the cell surface when anti-sheep-E-antibody was used under competitive conditions. The binding between the Eisenia foetida-factor and this membrane structure is relatively strong as it cannot be removed by subsequent treatment with anti-sheep-E-antibody or 2 M KCl.

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