Previous studies have indicated that a molecule with cytokine activity, possibly an interleukin-1-like (IL-1) molecule, plays a role in the killing of larval stages of the blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni in the snail host Biomphalaria glabrata. The purpose of the present experiment was to test the effects of recombinant-human IL-1β (rhIL-1β) on embryonic B. glabrata (Bge) cell motility to determine whether the cells respond to the cytokine. Response was measured using a variation of a chemokinetic assay in which cells in culture were separated from variable concentrations of rhIL-1β by a semi-permeable membrane containing pores to allow migration. A double staining technique was developed to ascertain cell movement across the membrane. The number of cells moving across the membrane significantly increased in a concentration-dependent manner relative to the presence of increasing amounts of rhIL-1β below the membrane. The number of cells that moved across the membrane increased until a threshold was reached, after which migration decreased. Further, the rhIL-1β-mediated increase in Bge cell migration across the membrane was abrogated by the addition of IL-1 receptor antagonist protein. These data indicate that Bge cells respond specifically to rhIL-1β. As such, these data also indicate that Bge cells may serve as a useful model for elucidation of the role of cytokines or cytokine-like molecules in the snail/schistosome relationship.

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