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Infect Immun. 2012 Jun;80(6):2141-9. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00024-12. Epub 2012 Apr 2.

Ingested human insulin inhibits the mosquito NF-κB-dependent immune response to Plasmodium falciparum.

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis, California, USA. npakpour@ucdavis.edu


We showed previously that ingested human insulin activates the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway in Anopheles stephensi and increases the susceptibility of these mosquitoes to Plasmodium falciparum. In other organisms, insulin can alter immune responsiveness through regulation of NF-κB transcription factors, critical elements for innate immunity that are also central to mosquito immunity. We show here that insulin signaling decreased expression of NF-κB-regulated immune genes in mosquito cells stimulated with either bacterial or malarial soluble products. Further, human insulin suppressed mosquito immunity through sustained phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activation, since inhibition of this pathway led to decreased parasite development in the mosquito. Together, these data demonstrate that activation of the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway by ingested human insulin can alter NF-κB-dependent immunity, and ultimately the susceptibility, of mosquitoes to P. falciparum.

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