Rodlet Cells in the Head and Trunk Kidney of the Domestic Carp (Cyprinus carpio): Enigmatic Gland Cells or Coccidian Parasites?
Rodlet cells have been found in the head and trunk kidneys of the common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.). From an experimental sample of 50 carps of various ages, we detected these cells in only seven fishes, contradicting the hypothesis that they constitute a normal component of the fish epithelia. The rodlet cells have a typical structure: 12-16μm in diameter, with a basal nucleus various in form, and an encasing layer of fibrillar structure. The cells contain rodlets, composed of elongated, opaque sacs featuring dark rods in the center, which strongly elongate in ripening cells. Remarkable pseudopodia-like extensions from the apical parts of the rodlet cells penetrate into the delicate blood vessels and sinusoids of the organs. The encasing layer at the cell apex then opens to release the rodlets into the bloodstream. No junctions were found between the rodlet cells and neighboring cells. It is suggested that these cells comprise some kind of "symbiosis" between leukocyte, possible granulocyte cells, and the parasitic rodlets. The cells serve the rodlets as an incubation chamber, as well as a means of transportation into the bloodstream after ripening.