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News Release 06-141

"Killer" B Cells Provide New Link in the Evolution of Immunity

Immune cells play different roles in fish and mammals

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The trout cell in the lower left is in the process of engulfing tiny latex beads (arrow).

In the adaptive immune system in mammals, B cells produce antibodies to fight infection. In the more-primitive innate immunity in fish, scientists found that B cells take part in a process known as phagocytosis, by which immune system cells ingest foreign particles and microbes. The round cell in the lower left is B-cell ike from a trout. It is in the process of engulfing three latex beads, each (arrow) about 1 micron in diameter.

Image for use only with news articles about the research.

Credit: J. Oriol Sunyer, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; image taken with the assistance of R. Meade, Biomedical Imaging Core Laboratory of the School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.


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