Structural analysis of the digestive gland of the queen conch strombus gigas linnaeus, 1758 and its intracellular parasites

Abstract : This study describes the structure of the digestive gland of Strombus gigas in individuals from Guadeloupe and discusses the function of its cell types and their relationship with intracellular Apicomplexa-like parasites. Three cellular types were found in the epithelium of the blind-ending tubules of the digestive gland according to histological and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) observations; these were: digestive cells, pyramidal crypt cells and vacuolated cells. Columnar digestive cells were characterized by large Alcian blue-positive granules, which have not been previously described in digestive cells of other caenogastropods. Such granules contain large quantities of proteoglycans that are exported to the stomach through the physiological destruction of the digestive cells, which undergo a holocrine secretion. Their cytoplasm appears vacuolar due to lipid extraction by solvents used for tissue preparation. Vacuolated cells also appear to be lipid-storage cells. Small triangular-shaped crypt cells, on the other hand, appear to be metabolically active as suggested by a strong positive in situ hybridization of eukaryotic ribosomes, which was confirmed by their large content of ribosomes and rough endoplasmic reticulum compared to the other cell types. These observations suggest that crypt cells may be immature cells that are involved in the replacement of eliminated digestive cells. However, their spherocrystal inclusions indicate that they may be excretory cells or calcium cells. Large brown inclusions were frequently observed in vacuolated cells; these were identified as parasitic protozoans and were present in the digestive gland of all sampled specimens. These protozoans have previously been described from a queen conch population in the San Andres Archipelago (Colombia). Several life cycle stages of the parasite were identified by scanning electron microscopy and TEM; trophozoites were characterized by their conoid-like structure, sporocysts by their thick walls, and gamonts by their thin walls. These observations suggest that this parasite completes its entire life cycle within the same host and type of tissue. Although previous investigations place this parasite within the Apicomplexa group, further investigations are necessary in order to confirm the identification of the parasite.
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Journal of Molluscan Studies, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2008, 75, pp.59-68. 〈10.1093/mollus/eyn041〉
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Olivier Gros, Liliane Frenkiel, Dalila Aldana Aranda. Structural analysis of the digestive gland of the queen conch strombus gigas linnaeus, 1758 and its intracellular parasites. Journal of Molluscan Studies, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2008, 75, pp.59-68. 〈10.1093/mollus/eyn041〉. 〈hal-00755287〉

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