Bosch, Thomas C. G. and David, Charles N.
Immunocompetence in Hydra. Epithelial cells recognize self-nonself and react against it.
In: Journal of Experimental Zoology, Vol. 238, No. 2: pp. 225-234
The evolution of effective immunologic defense mechanisms in multicellular organisms involves the ability of host cells to distinguish betweeen self and nonself and to react appropriately to eliminate foreign tissue. By producing interspecies grafts we have obtained evidence that immunorecognition followed by incompatibility reactions occur in Hydra. Our results demonstrate that epithelial cells of Hydra recognize and phagocytose foreign hydra cells, indicating that they are the effector cells in the incompatibility reactions. This observation is consistent with the idea that immunocompetence appeared early in the evolution of multicellular organisms.