In molluscs, internal defence against microorganisms is performed by a single cell type, i.e., the haemocyte or amoebocyte. The origin of these cells in Biomphalaria glabrata
was initially thought to be localised within the vasculo-connective tissue. More recently, origin from a single organ, termed the amoebocyte-producing organ (APO), has been postulated based on the occurrence of hyperplasia and mitoses during Schistosoma mansoni
infection. The present investigation represents a histological, immuno-histochemical and ultra-structural study of the B. glabrata
APO, whereby histological identification was facilitated by means of collecting epithelial basophilic cells. These cells were comprised of single-cell layers that cover a portion of the stroma, which contains many small, round cells and haemolymph sinuses, as well as a small area of the pericardial surface of the reno-pericardial region. On occasion, this epithelial component vaguely resembled the vertebrate juxtaglomerular apparatus, which reinforces its presumed relationship to the kidney. Both in normal and infected molluscs, mitoses were only occasionally found. The present quantitative studies failed to demonstrate the presence of APO cellular hyperplasia, either in normal or schistosome-infected B. glabrata
. Conversely, several structural details from the APO region in B. glabrata
were found to be consistent with the hypothesis that the APO is a filtration organ, i.e., it is more closely related to the kidney rather than the bone marrow, as has been suggested in the literature.