Responses of hemocytes from the crayfish Procambarus zonangulus to stimulation by fungal cell walls (Zymosan A) were measured by flow cytometry. Changes in hemocyte physical characteristics were assessed flow cytometrically using forward- and sidescatter light parameters, and viability was measured by two-color fluorescent staining with calcein-AM and ethidium homodimer 1. The main effects of zymosan A on crayfish hemocytes were reduction in cell size and viability compared to control mixtures (hemocytes in buffer only). Adding diethyldithiocarbamic acid, an inhibitor of phenoloxidase, to hemocyte to zymosan mixtures delayed the time course of cell size reduction and cell death compared to zymosan-positive controls. The inclusion of trypsin inhibitor in reaction mixtures further delayed the reduction in hemocyte size and cell death, thereby indicating that a proteolytic cascade, along with prophenoloxidase activation, played a key role in generating signal molecules which mediate these cellular responses. In addition to traditional methods such as microscopy and protein chemistry, flow cytometry can provide a simple, reproducible, and sensitve method for evaluating invertebrate hemocyte responses to immunological stimuli.
Additional publication details
A flow cytometric approach to the study of crustacean cellular immunity