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Parasite Immunol. 1999 Jan;21(1):35-44.

Mosquito feeding modulates Th1 and Th2 cytokines in flavivirus susceptible mice: an effect mimicked by injection of sialokinins, but not demonstrated in flavivirus resistant mice.

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Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, CO 80522, USA.


Culex pipiens and Aedes aegypti mosquitoes were fed on C3H/HeJ mice and systemic cytokine production was quantified from stimulated lymphocytes harvested four to ten days after feeding. Mosquito feeding on C3H/HeJ mice significantly down regulated IFN gamma production seven to ten days post feeding by Cx. pipiens and seven days after Ae aegypti feeding. Th2 cytokines, IL-4 and IL-10, were significantly up regulated 4-7 days after Cx. pipiens and Ae. aegypti feeding. The immunosuppressive effect of Cx. pipiens feeding on systemic cytokine production was not evident in congenic flavivirus resistant (C3H/RV) mice, as systemic IFN gamma and IL-2 were significantly up regulated at days 7 and 10, correlating with a significant decrease in IL-4 10 days after feeding by Cx. pipiens mosquitoes. Inoculation of 5-1000 ng of sialokinin-I into C3H/HeJ mice mimicked the effect of Ae. aegypti feeding by down regulating Th1 cytokines and significantly up regulating Th2 cytokines four days post inoculation. Injections of sialokinin-II resulted in only moderate effects on IFN gamma and IL-4 production seven and ten days after injection. Thus natural feeding by two arbovirus vectors had a profound T cell modulatory effect in vivo in virus susceptible animals which was not demonstrated in the flavivirus resistant host. Moreover, sialokinin-I and sialokinin-II mimicked the effect of mosquito feeding by modulating the host T cell response. These results may lend new insight into specific aspects of the role of the mosquito vector in potentiating virus transmission in the mammalian host.

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