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Quinine and artesunate inhibit feeding in the African malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae: the role of gustatory organs within the mouthparts



A membrane feeding assay in which the effects of the antimalarial drugs quinine and artesunate are tested on Anopheles gambiae Giles sensu stricto is described. In the present study, 87% of female A. gambiae are shown to feed on whole defibrinated bovine blood alone, whereas only 47% and 43.5% feed on saline and on saline + bovine serum albumin (BSA) solutions, respectively, suggesting that additional components in the blood stimulate mosquito feeding. The addition of 1 mm quinine or artesunate to the BSA solution results in a significant reduction in percentage engorgement to 16.2% and 14.1%, respectively. However, the feeding rate is higher when 1 mm artesunate and quinine are mixed in the blood because 67.8% and 78.4% of females engorge on these solutions respectively. Artesunate (10 mm) in the blood reduces percentage engorgement to 20%. Because circulating doses of quinine and artesunate affecting Plasmodium in humans are much lower than those affecting feeding by A. gambiae in the in vitro assay, these two antimalarial drugs should have no effect, or only a minor effect, on the infection rate of mosquitoes feeding on treated patients. Because only the stylets penetrate the membrane and not the labellar lobes, the results of the present study suggest that both blood phagostimulants and feeding deterrents are detected by internal gustatory organs in A. gambiae, namely sensory cells in the apical and subapical labral pegs, in sensilla on the inner face of the labellar lobes, or by cibarial receptor cells. The neuroanatomy of gustatory sensilla on the apical and subapical labral pegs and on the inner face of the labellar lobes of female A. gambiae is described in the present study.