Immune-relevant thrombocytes of common carp undergo parasite-induced nitric oxide-mediated apoptosis

I.R. Fink, C.M.S. Ribeiro, M. Forlenza, J.J. Taverne-Thiele, J.H.W.M. Rombout, H.F.J. Savelkoul, G. Wiegertjes

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Common carp thrombocytes account for 30–40% of peripheral blood leukocytes and are abundant in the healthy animals' spleen, the thrombopoietic organ. We show that, ex vivo, thrombocytes from healthy carp express a large number of immune-relevant genes, among which several cytokines and Toll-like receptors, clearly pointing at immune functions of carp thrombocytes. Few studies have described the role of fish thrombocytes during infection. Carp are natural host to two different but related protozoan parasites, Trypanoplasma borreli and Trypanosoma carassii, which reside in the blood and tissue fluids. We used the two parasites to undertake controlled studies on the role of fish thrombocytes during these infections. In vivo, but only during infection with T. borreli, thrombocytes were massively depleted from the blood and spleen leading to severe thrombocytopenia. Ex vivo, addition of nitric oxide induced a clear and rapid apoptosis of thrombocytes from healthy carp, supporting a role for nitric oxide-mediated control of immune-relevant thrombocytes during infection with T. borreli. The potential advantage for parasites to selectively deplete the host of thrombocytes via nitric oxide-induced apoptosis is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-154
JournalDevelopmental and Comparative Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • lymphocyte maturation factor
  • cyprinus-carpio
  • expression analysis
  • human platelets
  • functional-characterization
  • monoclonal-antibodies
  • cell-differentiation
  • teleost fish
  • genes
  • l.

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