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Histology and histochemical enzyme‐staining patterns of major immune organs in Epinephelus malabaricus

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The histological architecture of major immune organs in the Malabar grouper Epinephelus malabaricus was investigated. The novel characteristics such as melanomacrophage centres (MMCs) appeared in the thymus and lymphopoietic tissue formed as foci in the head kidney. Leukocyte distribution in organs was identified by enzyme histochemistry. β‐glucuronidase (BG) reactive cells in the cortex region of the thymus were botryoidally aggregated. Both acid phosphatase (AcP) and BG reactive cells concentrated within the specialized lymphopoietic foci in the head kidney, suggesting that the foci might be functional. Primitive histological characters of immunity were observed in the spleen. Although leukocyte aggregation was demonstrated in the spleen, additional enzyme histochemistry indicated that the aggregate might not be the equivalent of white pulp found in other vertebrates. The histological evidence did not support intestinal involvement in the immune system: there was no demonstrable gut associated lymphoid tissue. The limited distribution in the cortex and medulla boundary and the condensed format of the lymphocytes suggests a functional role for the MMC in the thymus of E. malabaricus. The MMC appearance in the thymus of a teleost was unusual.

Keywords: Malabar grouper; enzyme histological staining; histology; immune organs; melanomacrophage centres

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Graduate Institute of Life Sciences, National Defense Medical Center, No. 161, Section 6, Min-Chuan East Road, Taipei 114, Taiwan and 2: Institute of Biotechnology, National Cheng Kung University, No. 1, University Road, Tainan 701, Taiwan

Publication date: March 1, 2005


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