• immunization;
  • intradermal;
  • Plasmodium yoelii;
  • rodent malaria parasites;
  • sporozoites


Rodent malaria parasites are commonly used for investigations into the immunology of pre-erythrocytic stage malaria infection, as sporozoites can be easily produced in the laboratory. In the majority of past immunological studies using this system, sporozoites are inoculated into mice via the intravenous (IV) route. In natural situations, however, sporozoites are deposited into the skin by the bite of Anopheline mosquitoes, and it is likely that the immunological response to such natural intradermal (ID) inoculation will be different to that achieved through the IV route. Although infected mosquito bites are sometimes used during experimental induction of immunity in mice, this method is problematic because of the low numbers of sporozoites introduced to the skin and the large variation in sporozoite inoculation between individual mosquitoes. Here, we show that ID inoculation of dissected mosquito salivary gland sporozoites of Plasmodium yoelii allows the accurate introduction of known numbers of sporozoites into the skin and that these parasites successfully invade the liver. Furthermore, immunization of mice using ID inoculations of live sporozoites contemporaneously with mefloquine treatment induces an immune response that is protective against the development of liver stage parasites, and this protection does not differ significantly from that achieved with IV immunizations performed in the same manner.