Cold-stress induced formation of calcium and phosphorous rich chloragocyte granules (chloragosomes) in the earthworm Eisenia fetida

László Molnár, Péter Engelmann, Ildikó Somogyi, Levente László Mácsik, Edit Pollák

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9 Citations (Scopus)


The cytochemical and functional characteristics of chloragocytes of both 'control' and cold-stressed Eisenia fetida were examined. Flow cytometry revealed the heterogeneity of chloragocytes: the first group was characterized by low, the second one by high acid phosphatase (AcP) content. In 'control' animals the former, in cold-stressed ones the latter type were the dominant form. The elevated AcP-activity correlated with the accumulation of autophagic vacuoles (AVs) in chloragocytes. Both AVs and all small chloragosomes showed high AcP activity, while most of the large chloragosomes did not display any. Most 'control' granules (0.75-1.25μm) contained high amounts of Ca and P, with less and variable quantities of S, Cl, K, Fe and Zn. Small chloragosomes with low Ca and P concentrations were seldom found. In cold-stressed animals the number of small granules (0.25-0.75μm) increased up to 40% of total population. Their Ca and P contents were significantly lower; S and Fe concentrations were higher than those of large chloragosomes (1.0-1.5μm). Our results prove that the formation and elemental composition of chloragosomes can be influenced by environmental stressors and suggest that the mature chloragosomes are tertiary lysosomes and their formation is coupled to autophagocytosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-209
Number of pages11
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Acid phosphatase enzyme and immunocytochemistry
  • Chloragogenous tissue
  • Flow cytometry
  • Lysosomes
  • Quantitative electron probe X-ray microanalysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology

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