The view of the nucleolus as a mere ribosomal factory has been recently expanded, highlighting its essential role in immune and stress-related signalling and orchestrating. It has been shown that the nucleolus structure, formed around nucleolus organiser regions (NORs) and attributed Cajal bodies, is prone to disassembly and reassembly correlated to various physiological and pathological stimuli. To evaluate the effect of parasite stimulus on the structure of the leukocyte nucleolus, we exposed rat peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) to the crude extract of the nematode A. pegreffii
(Anisakidae), and compared the observed changes to the effect of control (RPMI-1640 media), immunosuppressive (MPA) and immunostimulant treatment (bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and viral analogue polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (poly I:C)) by confocal microscopy. Poly I:C triggered the most accentuated changes such as nucleolar fragmentation and structural unravelling, LPS induced nucleolus thickening reminiscent of cell activation, while MPA induced disassembly of dense fibrillar and granular components. A. pegreffii
crude extract triggered nucleolar segregation, expectedly more enhanced in treatment with a higher dose. This is the first evidence that leukocyte nucleoli already undergo structural changes 12 h post-parasitic stimuli, although these are likely to subside after successful cell activation.
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