Aotus lemurinus griseimembra is considered one of the best nonhuman primate species for malarial studies because of its susceptibility to infection by Plasmodium falciparum asexual blood stages. However, reproducible transmission of infective P. falciparum sporozoites by mosquito inoculation has been difficult to achieve even in splenectomized monkeys. Characterization of an Aotus–P. falciparum cyclical transmission model has become a top priority as a result of the significant progress toward the development of preerythrocytic malaria vaccines. Herein, we describe a reproducible model developed using intact A. lemurinus griseimembra monkeys intravenously inoculated with sporozoites from a monkey-adapted P. falciparum (Santa Lucia) strain and a wild Falciparum-Cali-Colombia-4 (FCC-4) strain. Sporozoites were obtained by salivary gland dissection of laboratory-reared Anopheles albimanus mosquitoes. Parasitemia was monitored by thick-smear microscopy, parasite lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) determination, and mosquito xenodiagnosis. The last method proved to be the most sensitive method for monitoring parasitemias. Infection with the Santa Lucia strain showed a mean prepatent period of 16 days (range 6–21 days), whereas infection with the wild FCC-4 strain resulted in a 24-day prepatent period. Mean peak parasite density was approximately 900 parasites/μl for both parasite strains. The prepatent period, the peak of parasitemia, and the duration of patency were independent of the size of the sporozoite inoculum and the presence of spleen in the host. This model is being successfully used to test the protective efficacy of P. falciparum preerythrocytic vaccine candidates.
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