Haematology of the turbot, Psetta maxima (L.): ultrastructural, cytochemical and morphological properties of peripheral blood leucocytes

A S Burrows, T C Fletcher, M J Manning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Optimum procedures for fish handling and sample processing for use when employing haematological parameters as health indicators in turbot, Psetta maxima (L.), have been established. We found thrombocytes to be the most abundant blood cell, representing approximately 52% of circulating leucocytes (lymphocytes, 40.8%; granulocytes, 5.6%; monocytes, 1.6%; total number of leucocytes = 1.3 x 10(5) ml(-1); packed cell volume = 22.7%). The light- and electron-microscopical characteristics of these cell types are described, together with their cytochemical properties using Sudan Black B, Periodic Acid Schiff, Non-specific Esterase, and Acid and Alkaline Phosphatase. Turbot thrombocytes showed a high degree of shape alterations when observed in live preparations using phase contrast microscopy, while ultrastructural observations following the in vitro uptake of carbon particles supported an active process of phagocytosis by the thrombocytes, rather than passive entrapment. The lymphocytes of turbot are structurally similar to mammalian lymphocytes with the highest nuclear:cytoplasmic ratio of all the leucocytes observed. Small lymphocytes predominated, large lymphocytes forming less than 1% of the total white blood cell population. The most frequent granulocyte type was a neutrophil-like cell with an eccentric nucleus, only rarely seen in segmented form. In vitro uptake of carbon particles by granulocytes was not observed under the conditions of the experiment, although turbot granulocytes are capable of phagocytosis under different circumstances. These are discussed, along with other physiological and technical factors which can influence the blood parameter findings in fish.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-84
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Ichthyology
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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