The innate immune response is the first line of defence strategies in invertebrates against attack of infectious agents. A detailed analysis of the immune mechanisms involved in annelids has been performed in oligochaets, but few data are available in polichaets and hirudineans. The aim of this review is to describe the responses of leeches to different kinds of stimuli (infections following non-self agent attacks, surgical lesions, grafts). Furthermore, the use of this invertebrate as a novel experimental model to be used to screen drugs and genes, which are responsible for positive and negative modulation of angiogenesis, is discussed.
Keywords: Leeches, Immune Response, Angiogenesis, polichaets, hirudineans, nnelids
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