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J Vector Borne Dis. 2012 Mar;49(1):8-14.

Sandfly saliva of Lutzomyia ovallesi (Diptera: Psychodidae) as a possible marker for the transmission of Leishmania in Venezuela Andes region.

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Laboratorio de Parasitología Experimental, Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Los Andes, Mérida, Venezuela.



The saliva of the Phlebotominae is highly immunogenic to the vertebrate host and is a determining factor in the Leishmania infection. The aim of this work was to study the saliva of Lutzomyia ovallesi as a possible risk marker for the transmission of Leishmania.


Two populations of L. ovallesi from different geographical areas and subjected to different environmental conditions were compared by geometric morphometry of the wings, by protein profile analysis of salivary glands and by assessing the presence of anti-saliva protein in human sera confronted with laboratory L. ovallesi saliva.


The results showed differences in the isometric size and structure of the wings but no allometric effects. Protein profiles of salivary glands of both the L. ovallesi populations studied were found to be similar, based on 11 protein bands with molecular weights ranging from 16 to 99 kDa. Anti-saliva antibodies were present in human sera, but human sera infected and uninfected with leishmaniasis could not be differentiated.


We conclude that the saliva of laboratory-reared L. ovallesi is representative of that of the wild population. It is suggested to study the presence of anti-saliva antibodies in other species of sandflies and mosquitoes.

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