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Keywords:

  • Aedes aegypti;
  • Culex quinquefasciatus;
  • cytokines;
  • immunomodulation;
  • mosquito saliva;
  • mouse;
  • splenocytes;
  • T cell populations;
  • Th cytokines;
  • vector–host–pathogen relationships;
  • vertebrate immune response

Abstract.  Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) are major vectors of numerous infectious agents. Compounds in mosquito saliva not only facilitate blood-feeding, but may also have an impact upon the immune system of vertebrate hosts. Consequently, the exposure to mosquito saliva may influence pathogen transmission, establishment and disease development. Using two medically important vector mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti (L.) and Culex quinquefasciatus Say, we examined the effects of mosquito saliva on immune cells of host mice. After antigen-specific or non-specific stimulation, murine splenocyte proliferation and production of both Th1 and Th2 cytokines were significantly reduced in the presence of salivary gland extract (SGE) from Ae. aegypti, but not SGE from Cx. quinquefasciatus. T cell populations were highly susceptible to this suppression, showing increased mortality and reduced division rates – judged by flow cytometric analyses. Evidently these two culicine mosquitoes differ in their host immunomodulatory activities.