Ontogeny of the lymphoid organs in an antarctic teleost, Harpagifer antarcticus (Notothenioidei: Perciformes)

The effect of an evolutionary adaptation to low environmental temperature on the development of lymphoid organs was examined in Harpagifer antarcticus from Signy Island (South Orkney Islands; 60° 43′S, 45° 38′W). Thymus, pronephric kidney and spleen were typical, both in position and structural development, of those observed in warmer-water teleosts. The pronephric kidney was the first organ to be infiltrated by leucocytes, at 1 h post-hatch, though the infiltration of the thymic epithelia and the development of the splenic anlage were not observed until 4 weeks post-hatch. Full development of the lymphoid organs was not achieved until the juvenile stage. Although an increased infiltration of the thymus, by subepithelial connective tissues and epithelial mucous cells, occurred in the juvenile and adult stages, there was no evidence of an advanced stage of thymic regression or involution in the adult Harpagifer. Thus, a suppressive influence of the low temperature environment, on the onset and degree of lymphoid organ development and thymic involution, was indicated in this species.


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Authors: O'Neill, Julian G.

1 January, 1989
Developmental & Comparative Immunology / 13
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