The relationship between mosquito and parasite involves a delicate balance that is influenced not only by the mosquito but also by parasite determinants. Using the biologically and morphologically similar parasites Brugia malayi and Brugia pahangi and the mosquito Armigeres subalbatus (Coquillett) (Diptera: Culicidae), it should be possible to dissect out the key elements involved in initiating or avoiding an immune response, known as melanotic encapsulation, because in this mosquito B. malayi microfilariae (mf) are melanized and destroyed, but B. pahangi mf develop normally into infective-stage larvae. Because of limitations in isolating sufficient mf from the circulation of an infected mammalian host, Brugia spp. mf that can be obtained in large numbers from the peritoneal cavity of an infected host were tested to ascertain the immune response of Ar. subalbatus to this source of mf. Results indicate that the immune response of Ar. subalbatus against intraperitoneal (i.p.) Brugia spp. mf mimics that which is observed when this mosquito is exposed to mf-infected animals, indicating that i.p. mf are similar to those mf that circulate naturally in the blood of the vertebrate host. Therefore, the i.p. mf should serve as an excellent source of material for genomic and proteomic studies designed to analyze the role of the parasite in influencing the immune response of the mosquito.
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Vol. 44 • No. 2