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An amebocyte or amoebocyte (/əˈmiː.bə.saɪt/) is a mobile cell (moving like an amoeba) in the body of invertebrates such as echinoderms, mollusks, tunicates or sponges. They move by pseudopodia. Similarly to some of the white blood cells of vertebrates, in many species amebocytes are found in the blood or body fluid and play a role in the defense of the organism against pathogens. Depending on the species, it may also digest and distribute food, dispose of wastes, form skeletal fibers, fight infections, and change into other cell types.
In old literature, the term amebocyte is sometimes used as a synonym of phagocyte.
In tunicates they are blood cells and use pseudopodia to:
-attack pathogens that enter the blood
-get rid of waste products
-grow/repair the tunic
- Levin J, Bang F.B. (1968). "Clottable Protein in Limulus: Its Localization and Kinetics of Its Coagulation by Endotoxin". Thromb. Diath. Haemorrh 19: 186.
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