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Identification of CD3+ T lymphocytes in the green turtle Chelonia mydas

January 1, 2009

To understand the role of the immune system with respect to disease in reptiles, there is the need to develop tools to assess the host's immune response. An important tool is the development of molecular markers to identify immune cells, and these are limited for reptiles. We developed a technique for the cryopreservation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells and showed that a commercially available anti-CD3 epsilon chain antibody detects a subpopulation of CD3 positive peripheral blood lymphocytes in the marine turtle Chelonia mydas. In the thymus and in skin inoculated with phytohemagglutinin, the same antibody showed the classical staining pattern observed in mammals and birds. For Western blot, the anti-CD3 antibodies identified a 17.6 kDa band in membrane proteins of peripheral blood mononuclear cell compatible in weight to previously described CD3 molecules. This is the first demostration of CD3+ cells in reptiles using specific antibodies.

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