A histologic, morphometric and ultrastructural study performed on Biomphalaria glabrata
submitted to infection with Schistosoma mansoni
miracidia failed to provide significant evidences that the so-called amebocyte-producing organ (APO) is really the central organ for hemocyte production. In infected snails no general reactive changes appeared in the APO, the mitoses were seen only occasionally, and the possibility of cellular hyperplasia was ruled out by morphometric measurements. Under the electron microscope the APO cells presented an essentially epithelial structure, without features indicative of transition toward hemocytes. On the other hand, the present findings pointed to a multicentric origin for the mollusck hemocytes, as earlier studies had indicated. Dense foci of hemocyte collections appeared sometimes around disintegrating sporocysts and cercariae in several organs and tissues of the infected snails, including a curious accumulation of such cells inside the ventricular cavity of the heart. In the heart and other sites, features suggestive of transformation of vascular space endothelial lining cells into hemocytes were apparent. To some extent, the postulated multicentric origin for B. glabrata
hemocytes recapitulates earlier embryologic findings in vertebrates, when mesenchymal vascular spaces generate the circulating and phagocytic blood cells.