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Exp Parasitol. 1996 Jul;83(2):191-201.

Aedes aegypti: induced antibacterial proteins reduce the establishment and development of Brugia malayi.

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Animal Health and Biomedical Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison 53706, USA.


The effect of host immune activation on the development of Brugia malayi in one susceptible and four refractory strains of Aedes aegypti and in Armigeres subalbatus was assessed. A. aegypti that were immune activated by the injection of saline or bacteria 24 hr before feeding on a B. malayi-infected gerbil had significantly reduced prevalences and mean intensities of infection from those of naive controls when exposed to bloodmeals with low (105 mf/20 microliters) and medium (160 mf/20 microliters) microfilaremias. At a higher microfilaremia (237 mf/20 microliters) there were no significant differences in mean intensities, suggesting that the number of parasites ingested may affect the host's ability to mount an effective defense response. Because the major immune proteins in A. aegypti are defensins, we did Northern analyses of fat body RNA 8 hr after immune activation or bloodfeeding. All mosquitoes demonstrated rapid transcriptional activity for defensins following immune activation by intrathoracic inoculation with either saline or bacteria. However, no strain of A. aegypti, susceptible or refractory to B. malayi, nor Ar. subalbatus produced defensin transcripts after bloodfeeding on an uninfected or a B. malayi-infected gerbil. These data suggest that inducible immune proteins of mosquitoes can reduce the prevalence and mean intensity of infections with ingested parasites, but these proteins are not expressed routinely after parasite ingestion and midgut penetration and probably do not contribute to existing refractory mechanisms. Immune proteins such as defensins, however, represent potential candidates to genetically engineer mosquitoes for resistance to filarial worms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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