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      Transmission of Leishmania metacyclic promastigotes by phlebotomine sand flies


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          A thorough understanding of the transmission mechanism of any infectious agent is crucial to implementing an effective intervention strategy. Here, our current understanding of the mechanisms that Leishmania parasites use to ensure their transmission from sand fly vectors by bite is reviewed. The most important mechanism is the creation of a “blocked fly” resulting from the secretion of promastigote secretory gel (PSG) by the parasites in the anterior midgut. This forces the sand fly to regurgitate PSG before it can bloodfeed, thereby depositing both PSG and infective metacyclic promastigotes in the skin of a mammalian host. Other possible factors in transmission are considered: damage to the stomodeal valve; occurrence of parasites in the salivary glands; and excretion of parasites from the anus of infected sand flies. Differences in the transmission mechanisms employed by parasites in the three subgenera, Leishmania, Viannia and Sauroleishmania are also addressed.

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          Most cited references 64

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          Salivary gland lysates from the sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis enhance Leishmania infectivity.

           R Titus,  Jose Ribeiro (1988)
          Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease transmitted by phlebotomine sand flies. The role of sand fly saliva in transmission of the disease was investigated by injecting mice with Leishmania major parasites in the presence of homogenized salivary glands from Lutzomyia longipalpis. This procedure resulted in cutaneous lesions of Leishmania major that were routinely five to ten times as large and contained as much as 5000 times as many parasites as controls. With inocula consisting of low numbers of Leishmania major, parasites were detected at the site of injection only when the inoculum also contained salivary gland material. This enhancing effect of sand fly salivary glands on cutaneous leishmaniasis occurred with as little as 10 percent of the contents of one salivary gland of one fly. Material obtained from other bloodsucking arthropods could not mediate the phenomenon.
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            Role of saliva in blood-feeding by arthropods.

             Jose Ribeiro (1986)
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              Protection against cutaneous leishmaniasis resulting from bites of uninfected sand flies.

              Despite the fact that Leishmania are transmitted exclusively by sand flies, none of the experimental models of leishmaniasis have established infection via sand fly bites. Here we describe a reproducible murine model of Leishmania major infection transmitted by Phlebotomus papatasi. Prior exposure of mice to bites of uninfected sand flies conferred powerful protection against Leishmania major that was associated with a strong delayed-type hypersensitivity response and with interferon-gamma production at the site of parasite delivery. These results have important implications for the epidemiology of cutaneous leishmaniasis and suggest a vaccination strategy against this and possibly other vector-borne diseases.

                Author and article information

                Int J Parasitol
                Int. J. Parasitol
                International Journal for Parasitology
                Elsevier Science
                August 2007
                August 2007
                : 37
                : 10-3
                : 1097-1106
                Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Pembroke Place, Liverpool L3 5QA, UK
                Author notes
                [* ]Tel.: +44 151 705 3314; fax: +44 151 705 3371. pbates@ 123456liverpool.ac.uk
                © 2007 Elsevier Ltd.

                This document may be redistributed and reused, subject to certain conditions.

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