The effects of trematode Plagiorchis mutationis parasitism on the cellular immune responses of the snail host Lymnaea stagnalis were investigated. The number of spreading blood cells (hemocytes) from infected snails was significantly less (69.5%) than in uninfected individuals (79.2%). The phagocytic activity of blood cells in infected snails was also significantly less (17.2%) compared to uninfected snails (27.8%). The hemocytes from the infected snails did not form a complete capsule around Sephadex beads in vitro. The protective reactions of the snail hosts were independent of the parasite load (daily cercariae production). In vitro, dead cercariae of P. mutationis were encapsulated by hemocytes from uninfected snails. The hemocytes of the infected snails formed a complete capsule around only 20% of dead cercariae in vitro, with remaining cercariae either unencapsulated (50% of cercariae) or incompletely encapsulated (30% of cercariae). The total number of hemocytes in the infected snails was twofold less than in uninfected individuals. The results of this study showed that the cellular response of snail host L. stagnalis to P. mutationis trematode infection is similar to the previously studied snail–trematode model systems.

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