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Michał Stosik, Beata Tokarz-Deptuła and Wiesław Deptuła


Thrombocytes in vertebrates other than mammals, inter alia in fish, are analogues of platelets in mammals. In Osteichthyes, these cells take part in haemostatic processes, including aggregation and release reactions in cases of blood vessel damage, and in the immune response development as well. This paper discusses the development of thrombocytes in Osteichthyes, taking into account the need to make changes to the concept of grouping progenitor cells as suggested in the literature. The following pages present the morphological and cytochemical properties of thrombocytes as well as their defence functions, and also point out differences between thrombocytes in fish and platelets in mammals. The paper further highlights the level of thrombocytes’ immune activity observed in fish and based on an increased proportion of these cells in response to antigenic stimulation, on morphological shifts towards forms characteristic of dendritic cells after antigenic stimulation and on the presence of surface structures and cytokines released through, inter alia, gene expression of TLR receptors, MHC class II protein-coding genes and pro-inflammatory cytokines. The study also points out the need to recognise thrombocytes in Osteichthyes as specialised immune cells conditioning non-specific immune mechanisms and playing an important role in affecting adaptive immune mechanisms.