The histogenesis of lymphoid organs in Tilapia mossambica and antibody responses in adults and fry
The thymic anlagen appears in Tilapia mossambica at 2 days post hatching and becomes lymphoid at 5 days. Lymphoid cells were first seen in the pronephros at 14 days and in the spleen at approximately five weeks of age. Differentiation into red and white pulp regions was seen by 10 weeks of age. Light and electron microscopic studies of adult lymphoid organ revealed increases in size and lymphoid cell numbers. Adult thymus develops a clearer corticomedullary differentiation of thymic corpuscles in the medulla and in the splenic red and white pulp became more distinct. Melanomacrophage centres were seen in spleen and pronephros. Adult fish gave primary and secondary antibody responses following challenge with sheep red bloods cells (SRBC), Escherichia coli (E. coli) and human gamma globulin (HGG). Plaque forming cell and immunocytoadherence assays revealed that head kidney and spleen were major sites for antibody production and development of antigen reactive cells. Proliferative activity in these organs was revealed using autoradiography and scintillation counting. Increased levels of pyroninophilia were also seen following antigenic challenge. Pilot studies on adults revealed that they were capable of rejecting first and second set allografts and leucocytes from spleen and head kidney proliferated in mixed leucocyte cultures. Antibody responses to SRBC, E. coli and HGG develop at about 10-12 weeks of age. Fry given either a single injection of SRBC at 10 weeks or two injections of the same antigen at 10 weeks and 12 days later, failed to respond to a further challenge with SRBC 56 days after the first injection (A time when animals would normally respond positively to this antigen). Injection of E. coli at the same times resulted in a prolonged antibody response.