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Digestive gland inclusion bodies in queen conch (Lobatus gigas) are nonparasitic

TitleDigestive gland inclusion bodies in queen conch (Lobatus gigas) are nonparasitic
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsTiley, K, Dennis, MM, Lewin-Smith, MR, Jenkins, HM, Kristmundsson, Á, Freeman, MA
JournalJournal of Invertebrate Pathology
Date Published07/2018

Unusual inclusion bodies occur within the epithelial cells of the digestive gland of queen conch, Lobatus gigas, and have previously been described as apicomplexan parasites. The aim of this study was to investigate the parasitic features of these inclusion bodies in queen conch. L. gigas from St. Kitts (Caribbean Sea) consistently (100% of n=61) showed large numbers of ovoid to tri-bulbous dark brown inclusion bodies (15×30 μm) within vacuolar cells. Histochemical stains demonstrated iron, melanin, and glycoprotein and/or mucopolysaccharide within the inclusion bodies. Microscopic features indicative of a host response to injury were lacking in every case, as were consistent morphological forms to indicate distinct parasitic stages.
Transmission electron microscopy failed to reveal cellular organelles of parasitic organisms and DNA extractions of purified inclusion bodies did not yield sufficient concentrations for successful PCR amplification. Scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray analysis revealed a number of elements, particularly iron, within the inclusion bodies. We conclude that the inclusion bodies are not an infectious agent, and hypothesize that they represent a storage form for iron, and potentially other elements, within a protein matrix. Similar structures have been described in the digestive glands of other invertebrates, including prosobranchs.


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