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function of melanine

Juergen Stein Juergen.Stein at FLINDERS.EDU.AU
Wed Jan 20 22:18:15 EST 1999

Arne raised a questiuon that is interesting me too right now. I find these
pigments especially in the liver of a lizard infected with a range of
apicomplexans (two plasmodium species and at least four "haemogregarines").
A dark granulated mass is surrounding meronts and other tissue stages, and
some of the field caught lizards infected with plasmodium show an
incredible amount of these pigments.

They seem to encapsulate the meronts and leave a "black shadow" e.g. of a
plasmodium meront (in a giemsa stain), but also of e.g. Schellackia
sporozoites. I infected a few lizards with a species of hemolivia in the
lab, and I found that in beginning of the encapsulation process there are
often white blood cells around the meronts. My impression is that these
WBC, possibly heterophils, adhere to the surface of the tissue stages and
then turn black.

Has anyone made a similar observation or can someone perhaps point me to a



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