Chelonia mydas is a sea turtle that feeds and nests on the Brazilian coast and a disease called fibropapillomatosis is a threat to this species. Because of this, it is extremely necessary to determine a methodology that would enable the analysis of blood leukocyte function in these sea turtles. In order to achieve this aim, blood samples were collected from C. mydas with or without fibropapillomas captured on the São Paulo north coast. Blood samples were placed in tubes containing sodium heparin and were transported under refrigeration to the laboratory in sterile RPMI 1640 cell culture medium. Leukocytes were separated by density gradient using Ficoll-PaqueTM Plus, Amershan Biociences®. The following stimuli were applied in the assessment of leukocyte function: Phorbol Miristate-Acetate (PMA) for oxidative burst activity evaluation and Zymosan A (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) Bio Particles®, Alexa Fluor® 594 con¬jugate for phagocytosis evaluation. Three cell populations were identified: heterophils, monocytes and lymphocytes. Monocytes were the cells responsible for phagocytosis and oxidative burst.
KEY WORDS: Chelonia mydas, green turtle, leukocytes, flow cytometry.