Reactivity of snails against parasites exhibits a primitive focal reaction, with encapsulation, phagocytosis and destruction of parasite larvae by macrophage-like cells - the hemocytes. This reaction mimics granulomatous inflammation seen in higher animals. However, different from the latter, little is known about the participation of extra-cellular matrix in such snail defense reactions. Normal and Schistosoma mansoni
-infected Biomphalaria glabrata
of different strains were submitted to cytological, histological, ultrastructural and biochemical methods in order to investigate the behavior of extra-cellular tissues at the site of anti-parasite reactions. In spite of the presence of two cell-types in peripheral hemolymph, only one cell-type was present at the sites of tissue reactions. Although pre-existent collagen and elastic fibers and microfibrils sometimes appeared slightly compressed around focal reactions, no evidences of duplication, synthesis or deposition of connective-tissue extra-cellular components were observed within or around the zones of reactive cell accumulations. Thus, tissue reactions against S. mansoni
in the snail B. glabrata
appeared exclusively dependent on one specific population of hemocytes.