The first appearance of Rodlet cells in carp (Cyprinus carpio L.) ontogeny and their possible roles during stress and parasite infection

A. F. Mazon, M. O. Huising, A. J. Taverne-Thiele, J. Bastiaans, B. M.L. Verburg-van Kemenade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The origin and function of rodlet cells (RCs) are still a matter of discussion. Whereas the exogenous hypothesis considers them parasites, the endogenous hypothesis regards them as a genuine fish cell population with a secretory and/or leukocyte function. In order to shed more light on these questions we focused on the location and appearance of RCs during carp (Cyprinus carpio) ontogeny. Typical RCs were seen at 5 days post fertilisation (dpf) between kidney and intestine, at 6 dpf in the intestine and at 8 dpf in both anterior and posterior kidney and in the abdominal cavity among the mesothelial cells. The RC number increased with age and after 14 dpf they were also present in gills. The early appearance of the RCs during carp ontogeny support the endogenous hypothesis stating that RCs are genuine constituents of fish tissue and suggest that they are 'immune cells'. The fact that the RCs of the gills secrete their content into the surrounding water, combined with the strategic location around blood vessels in kidney and within intestinal epithelium, would also support an important role in host defense. To investigate whether RC numbers in gills and kidney are related to typical fluctuations in the physiology during stress and infection we counted their number in gills and kidney after parasite infection and stress. In the gills the number of RCs increased after infection but did not change after stress while in the kidney their number increased after stress and no significant changes were observed after infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-37
Number of pages11
JournalFish and Shellfish Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Carp
  • Ontogeny
  • Parasite
  • Rodlet cells
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Aquatic Science


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