It is well known that immune defenses of bivalves against environmental and pathogenic stresses are primarily attributable to hemocytes. Hemocyte parameters are being used progressively as indicators to assess the host immune status. Moreover, there is increasing evidence that seasonal variations on the immune status have two origins: exogenous and endogenous. In this work, we investigated the effects of seasonal exogenous (water temperature and food availability) and endogenous (size and reproduction) factors on the hemocyte parameters in the scallop Chlamys farreri. Scallops were monthly collected from February to December 2009 at 2 sampling sites differing in culture mode: Qingdao for monoculture and Weihai for scallop—kelp polyculture. Six hemocyte parameters including total hemocyte count (THC), granulocyte percentage (GP), intrahemocytic phenoloxidase (PO), acid phosphatase (ACP), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and peroxidase (POD) were analyzed. Results illustrated that all hemocyte parameters exhibited marked seasonal variations, following a similar pattern at both sites. High values of THC, GP, PO, and POD were observed in spring and early summer, a period of favorable water temperature and high food availability and gonad index, whereas low values were found in summer and early autumn, a period corresponding to reproduction completion and high water temperature. Moreover, SOD was lowest in February and highest in August, and correlated positively with water temperature. Hemocyte parameters in the scallop C. farreri varied greatly among seasons, and their values were generally low during summer and early autumn, suggesting that scallops had a depressed immune status during this period.
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Vol. 31 • No. 3