Modulations of immune parameters caused by bacterial and viral infections in the terrestrial crustacean Porcellio scaber : implications for potential markers in environmental research.
The terrestrial crustacean Porcellio scaber (Crustacea: Isopoda) is an established invertebrate model in environmental research. Preceding research using isopods did not widely use immune markers. In order to advance their use in research, knowledge of the reference values in control animals as well as variations during infections is of importance. This study presents, for the first time, the morphology, and ultrastructure of the three main haemocyte types of Porcellio scaber as semigranulocytes (SGCs), granulocytes (GCs), and hyalinocytes (HCs), with the latter having two subtypes, using various light and electron microscopy approaches. The modulation of selected immune cellular and humoral parameters of P. scaber in symptomatic phases of Rhabdochlamydia porcellionis and Iridovirus IIV-31 infections is presented. A clear difference in the immune responses of bacterial and viral infections was shown. Remarkable changes in total haemocyte count (THC) values and the proportions of three different haemocyte types were found in animals with a viral infection, which were not as significant in bacterially infected animals. Modified NO levels and SOD activity were more pronounced in cases of bacterial infection. Knowledge of the morphological and ultrastructural features of distinct haemocyte types, understanding the baseline values of immune parameters in control animals without evident symptoms of infection, and the influence that infections can have on these parameters can serve as a basis for the further use of P. scaber immune markers in environmental research.