What are haemal and perihaemal systems of echinoderms. Explain in brief how they function.
Haemal and perihaemal systems derived from coelom form the open and reduced circulatory system in echinoderms.
The haemal system is made up of inter communicating tubes or channels. These channels contain coelomic fluid with coelomocytes. The perihaemal system consists of tubular sinuses or channels.
These systems act as pathways for the transport of substances like food, sex cells from gonads etc. These substances are carried through these channels by the contractile action of the dorsal sac.
Hope this information will clear your doubts about the haemal and perihaemal systems.
The coelomic cavities of echinoderms are complex. Aside from the water vascular system, echinoderms have a haemal coelom (or haemal system, the "haemal" being a misnomer), a perivisceral coelom, a gonadal coelom and often also a perihaemal coelom (or perihaemal system). During development, echinoderm coelom is divided in metacoel, mesocoel and protocoel (also called somatocoel, hydrocoel and axocoel, respectively). The water vascular system, haemal system and perihaemal system form the tubular coelomic system. Echinoderms are an exception having both a coelomic circulatory system (i.e., the water vascular system) and a haemal circulatory system (i.e., the haemal and perihaemal systems).
Haemal and perihaemal systems are derived from the coelom and form an open and reduced circulatory system. This usually consists of a central ring and five radial vessels. There is no true heart and the blood often lacks any respiratory pigment. Gaseous exchange occurs via dermal branchae or papulae in starfish, genital bursae in brittle stars, peristominal gills in sea urchins and cloacal trees in sea cucumbers. Exchange of gases also takes place through the tube feet. Echinoderms lack specialized excretory (waste disposal) organs and so nitrogenous waste, chiefly in the form of ammonia, diffuses out through the respiratory surfaces.
The coelomic fluid contains the coelomocytes, or immune cells. There are several types of immune cells, which vary among classes and species. All classes possess a type of phagocytic amebocyte, which engulf invading particles and infected cells, aggregate or clot, and may be involved in cytotoxicity. These cells are usually larger and granular, and are suggested to be a main line of defense against potential pathogens.Depending on the class, echinoderms may have spherule cells (for cytotoxicity, inflammation, and anti-bacterial activity), vibratile cells (for coelomic fluid movement and clotting), and crystal cells (potential osmoregulatory cells in sea cucumbers). The coelomocytes also secrete Anti-Microbial Peptides (AMPs) against bacteria, and have a set of lectins and complement proteins as part of an innate immune system that is still being characterized.